According to the “2019 Canadian Guidelines for Physical Activity Throughout Pregnancy”, in general physical activity is associated with greater benefits and “has been proposed as a preventative or therapeutic measure to reduce pregnancy complications and optimise maternal-fetal health”.
Women who were active prior to pregnancy are encouraged to continue exercising with appropriate modifications and going by how they feel at all times. Those women who were inactive before pregnancy are encouraged to start exercising during pregnancy, starting at lower intensity and progressively increasing the intensity and duration of the exercise to their tolerance.
Always be sure to get the go ahead from a medical professional beforehand as there are several contraindications to exercise while pregnant that must not be ignored.
Click the link below for the full article with a comprehensive list of all contraindications.
Physical activity recommendations for pregnant women:
All women without contraindications should be physically active throughout pregnancy
A good goal is to aim to accumulate at least 150 minutes of “moderate intensity” exercise (being able to maintain a conversation during that exercise) spread out over at least 3 days a week.
Being active everyday is encouraged
Exercises should be varied, including aerobic and resistance work. Yoga/ stretching can also be added.
Doing daily “pelvic floor muscle training”, for example Kegel exercises, may help decrease urinary incontinence.
If feeling unwell, light-headed, or nauseated while exercising, specifically when laying on the back, the exercise should be modified to resolve the symptoms. For example, doing the exercises side lying rather then laying on back.
Maintain proper hydration and nutrition before, during and after any activities.
When to stop exercising and seek help from a medical professional:
Persistent excessive shortness of breath that does not resolve on rest.
Regular and painful uterine contractions
Amniotic fluid leakage
Dizziness or fainting that does not resolve on rest
Are there any exercises that should be avoided during pregnancy?
Put simply Yes.
Avoid exercising in excessive heat and/ or humidity (for example hot yoga), activities involving physical contact or possibility of falling eg. scuba diving and skiing. Physical activity above 2500m or high intensity/ competitive exercises should be discussed with obstetric care beforehand.
For more information or to arrange a pregnancy consultation contact the clinic on 057 8678904.
Pregnancy can be a daunting time for any woman with each pregnancy being different and new hurdles may crop up throughout. So it’s important to be as prepared as you can be both physically, emotionally and mentally, in order to deal with everything that may come as best you can.
Here are a few things that I commonly tell my mums when it comes to physical well being.
I can’t stress enough how beneficial it is for mum to stay active during pregnancy as it helps to prepare for the demands of carrying a child and for labour. A woman’s body goes through so many changes it’s good to be ready for these challenges. Exercise can help women through pregnancy not just physically but emotionally too, which must not be taken lightly. So if you’re active, fantastic stay that way. There may be days when you don’t feel up to doing much other than eat or sleep, please listen to what your body is telling you. It’s telling you for a reason. The key is to always listen to your body and adapt workouts to suit.
However, do not start something new if your body is not used to it as this can create problems and if there are any concerns always consult your health practitioner.
Chiropractic can help with maintaining healthy pelvic and spinal movement during your pregnancy by resolving discomfort such as back pain, sciatica, hip pain. Treatment aims to provide natural relief and works with your spine and pelvis as your body changes shape and different loads are placed on it. This along with Fascial/ soft tissue release encourages optimal fetal positioning for birth, which in the long run will help reduce likelihood of C-section. Exercises are also given to target the pelvic floor and core strength, primarily through developmental movements. (Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilisastion- DNS)
Scar tissue can be detrimental to body mechanics if not addressed as soon as possible. It can alter proper movement patterns and generate pain and dysfunction in the body. It can also predispose the area to future injury.
The aim of therapy is to improve tissue texture, flexibility, local blood supply and drainage. Therefore the earlier and more regularly that a scar is treated the better.
Qualities of a Scar
Tough fibrous and non pliable, with reduced circulation and lymph drainage
Reduced local tissue flexibility, resulting in limited joint mobility
Our Approach to Treating Scars
Soft Tissue Release: Gentle hands on massage technique applied around and at the site of the scar to stretch the tissues and promote healing
Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation (IASTM): uses specialised instruments and cream to glide across the scar in a form of cross friction massage to reduce pain and improve pliability of the tissues
Dry Needling: needles are applied around the scar site to encourage an inflammatory healing response
How Effective Can Treatment be?
Below is an example of my own scar healing with the help of treatment following a right clavicle (Collarbone) reconstruction with a surgical plate and pins
If you would like to book an appointment please contact us today.
It’s safe to say that the majority of us have a scar of some sort,for example surgical related, c-section scars, appendectomy scars or scars from cuts or broken bones.
What is scar tissue?
Scar tissue forms after injury to the normal cells of the body and it is the body’s natural response to repair any tissue damage. Scars can however generate its own issues once it has laid down, the effects of which is something we come across daily in the clinic.
The effect of scars on the body?
Excessive scarring will create tissue tension throughout the fascial system and limit the mobility within the muscles, tendons, ligaments and ultimately the joints. This results in altered postures and movement patterns. When this happens a cascade of compensatory movement starts elsewhere, creating pain and stiffness, such as neck, shoulder and low back pain.
The assessment and treatment of scars is often a neglected area in the management of musculoskeletal pain and is of upmost importance, particularly in the case of an unproblematic longstanding scar which may be preventing the patient from returning to full non painful movement.
At the clinic we examine and address scars old and new to improve soft tissue function and movement. All with the intention of improving joint mobility and giving the best foundations for developing core stability in our patients. This is especially important for ladies who have had c-section procedures and want to get fit again after childbirth and reduce low back pain.
If you would like to book an appointment please contact us today for a quick chat to see how we can help!
Yours in Health
The Lawlor Clinic: Portlaoise
Chiropractic | Active Release Techniques (ART®) | Functional Range Conditioning (FRC®)
Diastasis Recti is a condition we see commonly in the clinic. Most often it’s associated with pregnancy and the post partum times, but did you know that it can affect anyone? While can be considered a cosmetic issue, it is a major warning sign that a more serious issue with the core is going on. Lets learn a little more about this common condition.
What is it?
We all have a line down the middle of our body, that separates the two halves of the outer layer of abdominal muscles. It runs from the breast bone to the pubic bone. Diastasis recti occurs when there is a separation or widening between the two sides of of the muscles. Everyone has a little bit of a gap, but it is considered more of a problem when it’s 2 fingers wide or more.
What causes it?
Diastasis recti is common in pregnancy due to two things:
1. The growing belly that pushes out against the abdominal musculature, thinning the connective tissue.
2. The maternal hormones that cause the connective tissues to become softer and more flexible can promote laxity in the structures.
It is something that naturally happens to a degree during pregnancy, and after the baby is born, should come back to normal if your core was in balance before pregnancy. It is worth noting that in many studies, women who were active before pregnancy and continued that exercise throughout their pregnancy tend to be less likely to suffer with diastasis recti. But this is not always the case.
Outside of pregnancy, it can be caused by overdoing it on the wrong abdominal exercises, such as traditional sit-ups or crunches and/or weak deep abdominal musculature. It is not just about weak muscles though. An imbalance in the muscles of the abdomen, and your overall posture can also contribute.
Why is it a problem?
When you have a diastasis that continues for months after pregnancy, it is a problem. It is a sign that your core musculature is not working properly. If you’re wondering why you need your core working properly, here are a couple reasons to consider:
Many who have diastasis recti also have or will have pelvic floor issues including urinary incontinence.
A weak core can lead to ongoing lower back, sacroiliac joint, and symphysis pubis pain
How can we help?
Diastasis can be helped by improving your function and removing any imbalances in the core musculature. Some of you may be thinking, I know other women who are very fit and still have diastasis, what about them?? The answer to that would be that just because someone exercises, does not mean that their core is actually functioning properly and that they know how to properly activate and brace their core during exercise, breathing, and normal day to day activities. They may be loading their core in a way that is contributing to more tension (in the wrong way) on that front part of the abdominal muscles.
It’s important to seek expert advice if you are struggling to get your core back after pregnancy. Look for a practitioner that will take a varied approach to getting you functioning better as a whole to help get your core back in balance! For more information check out this book from Katy Bowman.
Ever wondered what you could do to make labour easier on yourself and your little one?
Times are changing for expectant mothers in Ireland with now having more information available to them via tv, internet and social media on natural birth. Education has improved and parents are more confident and willing to take an active roll in how their pregnancy and labour goes.
Gone are the days of simply lying on your back and purple pushing as they call it. Hypnobirthing has changed our preconceptions of labour and the associations with “purple pushing”, it and yoga also advocate active birth positions for mothers to ease the birth process. Women are finally stepping away from the tradition of lying on their backs on a hospital bed to have a natural birth.
We now know that when lying on your back to give birth the size of the pelvis is at its narrowest, due to the angle of the sacrum and tailbone. You lose the vital effect of gravity as now you will have to pass your baby over these structures and ultimately up hill.
Below are some Active Birthing Positions which can encourage the pelvic outlet to widen to at least 30% and with the aid of gravity help the descent of the baby through the birth canal. Therefore potentially making things easier.
Supported squat– using your birthing partner/ mid wife or bar as a prop can make you more comfortable during surges.
Kneeling– can be against a birthing ball or on the bed. It helps widen the pelvic outlet and can allow you to rest easier between surges.
Hands and knees – will also help relieve pressure on the low back and may help the baby reposition itself for delivery.
Sidelying– with one leg elevated or held by the birth partner allows the pressure of the baby to be redistributed within the pelvis and making things more manageable.
Birth pool– the effect of the warm water can lessen low back discomfort and can let the mother adopt the squatting or kneeling position much easier.
If you are due to have a little one please take the time to educate yourself in how you and your little one can have a smoother and more pleasurable experience. We hope this helps you in your journey to motherhood.
Our last few blogs have been about pregnancy and the time after pregnancy, and some associated issues women experience during these times. One of the main concerns is an unstable pelvis. Aside from getting treatment, what else is available out there to help women have a pain-free pregnancy?
The main issue during pregnancy is that the pelvis becomes unstable due to the maternal hormones released during this time. Which can cause a lot of dysfunction and pain in some women. Treatment and exercises can help to keep the pelvis pain free, but those alone cannot fully stabilise the pelvis. So how can we stabilise something that is unstable?
Our top tip for an unstable pelvis:
The Serola belt. It is a support, worn around the waist, in a similar way to a belt, that actively gives support to the pelvis, helping to stabilise it. It provides the support that the pelvis desperately needs during this time. Providing relief for sacroiliac joint dysfunction and symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) as well as lower back pain.
The Serola belt is not a permanent solution, as these hormones that relax the ligaments and joints are vital during labour to help the baby pass through the pelvis. But until that time, it can be a great companion to help take some of the pressure off that sore unstable pelvis! Keep a look out for our upcoming video on how to properly wear a Serola belt.
Yours in Health,
Chiropractic | Mums & Babies | Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization
You did it. You survived pregnancy and labour and now have a beautiful little person that will enrich your life! And all the little pains of pregnancy will magically go away right? In a perfect world, yes. But for many women, they find that their body is not quite what it used to be. This is especially true for the pelvis. We have talked about the pelvis, and how it changes during pregnancy before, but what happens with the pelvis after pregnancy and birth?
All about the Hormones:
Remember those lovely hormones that help prepare the body for the birth process? Relaxin is one of the main ones, and it does just what it’s name implies, relaxes things. It relaxes the muscles and ligaments so that the joints in the pelvis can spread to allow the baby to pass through. Relaxin remains in your system after the birth and can continue to cause problems for months after the baby is born. If you are breastfeeding, it may be even longer.
The pelvis continues to be unstable in most women after the birth of their baby.
Getting back to Normal:
After the maternal hormones have settled down back to a normal level, the pelvis can go back to being stable, although in some women, it remains unstable for years after the children are born. Even when the pelvis is stable again, that doesn’t mean that it has become stable in the right position. We see many women with pelvises that have stabilised, but did not stabilise correctly. Meaning one or both sides are out of balance, thus causing a lot of discomfort when walking, lifting the baby, or bending.
What about Treatment?
Don’t fret, this can all be corrected with proper treatment. Using different types of manual therapy on the pelvic ligaments and muscles including Active Release Techniques (ART®) and specific exercises to improve your core strength. To help the pelvis heal, it’s important to keep active, which may be difficult to do when you are in pain. We recommend gentle exercise such as light walking as a great way to start.
Book an appointment today to get your pelvis checked and get back to feeling like yourself again!
Yours in Health
The Lawlor Clinic, Portlaoise
Specialising in the treatment of Pregnancy Related Disorders
Some of you will be aware that we welcomed our son 3 months ago now, a beautiful bouncy baby boy Davin, weighing in at 8lb 2ozs. At the moment I am on maternity leave and enjoying every moment watching Davin grow up, granted it has been testing at times, particularly when bleary eyed in the early hours, but it has all been worth it.
Back early last year when we found out we were going to be parents we were so excited, with a level of nervous anticipation. It would be our first child.. would we make good parents, would it be healthy and oh how was the pregnancy and actual labour going to go? I have treated many pregnant patients and children in my years as a chiropractor and now it was my time.
I wanted to share a few of the things that I found important and beneficial throughout my 40 weeks (+10 days!!) which will hopefully help other mums to be.
Prenatal vitamins, fish oils, super greens and a probiotic where my daily go to after brekie to help me stay healthy and do the best for my little one. I had a pretty clean diet as it was but it was even more important now. Thankfully i had no cravings good or bad. I did force myself to drink more water throughout the day to stay hydrated, which is essential.
Prior to pregnancy I was running several times and week, long distance mainly with a marathon and half marathons,and regular strength training, so I was pretty active. I wanted to maintain a level of fitness throughout my pregnancy, as it was what made me. It helped me stay healthy and relaxed, and a happy healthy mammy makes for a happy healthy child.
Throughout the 9 months I continued to run albeit shorter distances and in the later weeks I walked daily and swam several times a week. After 12 weeks I started Pregnancy Yoga, which was fantastic for overall pelvic and core preparation for labour. It was also a great chance to make new friends. I would recommend this to every new mum as the information and support in these classes from all the ladies was invaluable. All of this I believe helped with my relatively smooth and quick labour and speedy recovery.
I heard of Hypnobirthing before being pregnant but wasn’t fully aware of what it involved exactly but I did know that it promoted a more natural and relaxed birth experience. So we decided to sign up to a course of classes locally and found them to be very informative. Afterwards we both felt more prepared mentally for what lay ahead. It definitely reinforced that we were in control of how labour would go and try to make it as positive an experience as possible. We would both definitely recommend these classes.
Acupuncture & Reflexology:
Having gone 40 weeks + 10 days I had been scheduled to be induced by day 10 but thankfully I didn’t need it. Those last 10 days were the toughest part of the pregnancy altogether as I was getting increasingly anxious as the lil one wasn’t going anywhere, he had his own agenda obviously. In that last week I had a few acupuncture and reflexology sessions to help encourage labour and to ease my own anxiety, which I found fantastic. I only wish I had attended throughout my whole 9 months and not just at the end.
The perks of owning your own chiropractic clinic with associates and having a husband who is also a chiropractor meant that I was fortunate to have weekly treatments throughout my pregnancy to keep my pelvis in the best possible state for carrying an ever growing child and childbirth. These sessions were essential in keeping my little one in the correct position and reducing any symptoms from the muscle and ligament changes that your body goes through.
I really hope that by reading this even one person gains something that they can do during their 9 months and even before, to help make their journey to motherhood as smooth and amazing as mine was.
Below are a few links to some of the people who helped us on our journey:
Many women these days are seeking natural alternatives for pain and discomfort during their pregnancies. One of these is, chiropractic care. Treatment during pregnancy is a bit different than normal chiropratic treatment in the clinic. Naturally much care is given to the growing baby and the fact that the ligaments and joints are become more unstable due to the hormones. And with pregnancy there are a new set of challenges for the chiropractor and the mother to deal with that she may not have had while not pregnant, such as:
Pelvic and back pain
round ligament pain
To give you an idea about what treatment during pregnancy is like, check out this short video of the Webster Technique. It is a technique developed and taught by the International Chiropractic Pediatrics Association (ICPA), to help keep the pelvis aligned during pregnancy.
Wondering if chiropractic care during your pregnancy is right for you? Contact us today for more information!
Yours in Health,
The Lawlor Clinic
Chiropractic | Sports Injuries | Active Release Techniques (ART®)