I started to write this blog the last week of work before going on maternity leave and then nature intervened --- so I finish this blog staring at the face of my second child quietly sleeping in her crib.
When I went through my first pregnancy I was determined NOT to be a victim to pregnancy related musculoskeletal problems, which we treat at our practice. There is nothing more moving than to see someone pregnant and suffering with sciatica, low back, pubic bone or neck pain or an inability to walk pain free… not because they are weak but mainly because they feel it is normal.
Pregnancy is a joyous moment and every pound that one gains (trust me I know I gained more weight with my second) is towards growth of a child they bear. So I put myself on an exercise regimen contrary to the popular ones like viz. yoga and Pilates. Instead I put myself on functional strength and balance exercises to help me cope with the changes happening to my body. After a successful pain free first pregnancy I devised P3: PLAN PREVENT PREPARE! And launched the program in 2012, the program is based on the science of movement, biomechanics and exercise.
So as I went about caring for my newborn and being a full time PT – I got back to my old weight and went about my business. Then in late spring last year --- I was pregnant again. This time I put myself on the P3 program like I had advised all my patients for the past two years. With pregnancy number two I was much bigger and gained 10 pounds mostly all in my belly. I am five feet tall and weigh 104 pounds –so walking around with a belly girth of 44 inches and working as a PT ---was no joke! Most colleagues and friends who compared me to my first pregnancy were shocked.
But let me be a testament to myself and all the other pregnant women out there who embraced the P3 method --- I had no back pain and no sciatica. Although I did have three groin spasms that I needed to stretch out -- all of my own doing trying to sprint walk across Broadway at 35 weeks to make a light (silly in retrospect).
So yes I did have a joyous birth experience --- where I could rely on my body – those strong core muscles that held the baby in place, those sling pelvic floor muscles that provided a hammock, those gluts and oblique’s that prevented me from waddling, those scapula stabilizers that allowed me to be a manual therapist. The list is endless....
So to all the women out there ---pregnancy does not have to hurt your muscles and joints. There are ways to turn in bed, walk, maintain good posture, sit on a toilet, dress and choose footwear --- so that you can have a joyous birth
Renuka Pinto, MPT, PGDR, CSCS, CES
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