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HEALTHY PREGNANCY: MOBILITY PART I/II

Florence Lefebvre

Being 7 months pregnant at the time of writing this blog, I felt like sharing the little I have learnt along the way. Healthy Pregnancy is the first of a series that will cover various aspects of pregnancy and eventually, we will cover post-pregnancy too with a series that will be entitled Healthy Motherhood.

There is no shortage of information on the subject but I hope you will enjoy reading these blogs written mainly from a yoga teacher's perspective.

So you have now embarked on the pregnancy journey and most likely shortly after finding out (which I will assume here was good news - I will write about "An Unwanted Pregnancy" later on in this series), you started to feel "abnormally" tired. I am using quotation marks because there is nothing abnormal about it: your body, on top of dealing with its usual functions, has taken on a new role, that of crafting a human being from scratch!

Your tiredness perhaps accompanied with "morning" sickness too (quotation marks again as it can feel more like all-day-long queasiness!) has led you to be a lot less active than usual. Understandably you need more rest and it has to be honoured. But I will also say this: some gentle walks and yoga movements will do you a world of good! Being too sedentary is not to any body's liking (no spelling mistake here!) - it has been designed to move after all - and I promise you that putting a little bit of effort in will help keep at bay most common aches and pains. You know the ones I am talking about: tight or sore upper and lower back, neck, shoulders and legs.

There are two main categories of movements you need to commit to: mobility and strength.

In the blogs Healthy Pregnancy: Mobility Part I & II, I have selected a series of 10 simple poses and movements designed to support your body's mobility and well-being to enable you to enjoy your pregnancy more fully. You will find strengthening poses and exercises in upcoming blogs.

Please note that if you have been diagnosed with PGP (Pelvic Girdle Pain), some of these poses will either have to be modified as suggested or avoided completely if pain persists.
Let’s start with the first 5 poses and corresponding movements.

Sit cross-legged on a block or a blanket, supporting your outer thighs with some padding of your choice if your hips and/or groin feel tight or sore. Maintaining a long spine, take a few moments to focus on your breath. Deepen your inhale and your exhale.

1 - Place your hands on your shoulders and draw 10 circles with your elbows first to the back of the room and then to the front.

2 - Place your right hand on the floor in line with your hip and slide it away as you lean over to the right for a side stretch bringing your left arm alongside your ear. Hold for 5 breaths.

Next bring your left hand to your left shoulder and draw 10 circles with your elbow from front to back. Start with small circles and widen them up to access a deeper range of motion in your shoulder and upper back. Repeat on the left side.

3 - Interlace your fingers behind the base of the skull, open your elbows wide and lean your head back into your palms to create a gentle arch in the upper back and open the chest. Straighten your head and hug your elbows in, tilting the head forward this time, bringing the chin to the chest, allowing your upper back to round. Repeat 10 times.

4 - Maintain your interlace and bring your arms in front of you at shoulder-height, palms facing your chest. Lean back and form a C-shape with your spine, reaching your palms away from your torso and dropping your head forward. Hold for 5 breaths or more as you might find this simple stretch pretty good!

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5 - Release your interlace, straighten your back and change the cross of your shins. (Rearrange your padding if you used some before). Interlace your fingers again but behind your back for a shoulder stretch, extending your fists away from the spine. Hold for 5 breaths or longer if you wish.

You can stop here and close with a short meditation before getting on with the rest of your day or continue with the next 5 poses in Mobility Part II below.