Throughout pregnancy, your body experiences numerous changes, some of which are more obvious than others. Most expectant mothers can feel the changes in their pelvis even though you might not be able to see them.
This typically manifests as an anterior pelvic tilt, in which the top of the pelvis moves forward while the bottom tilts backward. This change can accommodate your expanding baby belly, but it can also put pressure on your lower back and result in a number of less interesting aches and pains, such as pelvic pain.
You’ll learn about a pelvic tilt in this article along with some tips on how to perform exercises to correct it.
Related: When to Start Using Exercise Ball in Pregnancy: Best Time&Usage – Tips for Health Care
What is Pelvic Tilt?
The hips, coccyx (also known as the tailbone), and sacrum (which sits directly above the tailbone) are the three bones that make up the pelvis. An anatomically aligned pelvis that is not in a neutral position is said to have a pelvic tilt.
With an anterior pelvic tilt, the top of the pelvis moves forward and downward while the bottom tilts back and upward; picture arching your low back and pushing your chest forward.
Consider a yoga pose you may be familiar with: the cow pose. This pose will help you comprehend what an anterior pelvic tilt looks like. It’s similar to an accentuated anterior pelvic tilt to exhale while on all fours and arch your back to enter cow pose.
Your hip flexors will probably be tighter, your hamstrings will probably be longer, and your glutes will probably be weaker if you have an anterior pelvic tilt. Pregnancy-related tightening, lower back pain, and pelvic pain are frequently brought on by all of the aforementioned factors as well as the naturally stretched and weakened core muscles.
Benefits of Pelvic Tilt Exercises During Pregnancy
Back Pain Relief
The benefits of targeted pelvic tilt exercises are two-fold. You can short-term strengthen your core and reduce pain and stiffness. By promoting neutral alignment in the pelvis, performing pelvic tilt exercises also helps to prevent long-term problems. The most amount of space is provided by neutral alignment, which can reduce stress on the soft tissues and prevent muscle imbalances by allowing more room in the pelvis and low back.
Let Your Baby into the Right Position
The anterior position is the ideal position for a baby to be in during birth. She is now lying face down with her back against your stomach. It’s easier for your baby to fit through your pelvis when they are in the anterior position.
When the baby is placed feet first, the birth is breech. It is likely that you will need a caesarean delivery if she is unable to turn around before you go into labor. You might feel out of breath and have rib discomfort if your baby is in this position.
The occiput posterior (OP) position is another option, in which your baby is head-down but with her front facing your abdomen. In the OP position, the back of your baby’s head (the hardest part) pushes against your spine. If your baby is in this position, your labor may take longer and you may experience severe lower back pain both during and between contractions. However, performing pelvic tilts correctly can lessen this discomfort.
How Do Pelvic Tilt Exercises During Pregnancy?
Standing Against a Wall
To start, stand against a wall with your upper back, butt and heels all touching. “You should have a little space between your low back and the wall,” notes Stockel, to accommodate the natural curve of the spine. Take a deep breath in, then let it out as you press your lower back against the wall to complete a posterior pelvic tilt. Inhale, exhale, and repeat as necessary until there is a space between your lower back and the wall. 15 slow repetitions should be performed.
Laying on your back, place your feet about hip-width apart, and raise your knees. Your heels should be positioned so that you can reach the back of them with your fingertips while seated.
Put a Pilates ball, yoga block, or rolled towel between your inner thighs. Inhale, then exhale to brace your core and squeeze the ball. Then press through your heels to lift your butt off the floor. Avoid arching your back and watch your upper body extension. Slowly roll back down to your starting position, releasing the pelvic floor when your hips come to the ground.
For a more strenuous workout, perform 10 to 12 repetitions, up to three times, with only a brief break of 15 to 20 seconds in between sets.
This exercise will cause your pelvis to tilt posteriorly, anteriorly, and laterally, making it a fantastic all-around strengthener. Start on all fours and envision your butt as a pencil, suggests Stockel. From there, draw a circle with your pelvis on the wall behind you while breathing and keeping your shoulders level with your hands. Do 10 repetitions in one direction, then 10 in the
Stand with your feet slightly wider than hips and toes turned out slightly. Begin kneeling while hinging your torso forward. As you pass your knees and squat down with your heels on the ground, lower your pelvis toward the floor. (You can also place yoga blocks or a small Pilates ball under the pelvis for support.)
To begin, try to hold for at least 1 minute and 30 seconds. Work your way up to maintaining this posture for up to three minutes.
Similar to tilts against a wall, these pelvic tilts are performed while you are lying down so that you can pay close attention to the movement of your pelvic floor muscles. Lay down on a soft surface with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent. “Inhale, then exhale and flatten your back, drawing your belly button down to your spine and tucking your tailbone underneath you,” says Kliebert. Inhale and release, then exhale and repeat. Do 15 slow repetitions.
When to Do Pelvic Tilts During Pregnancy?
Pelvic tilts can be performed at any time during pregnancy, and beginning them early can help stop the emergence of future problems. The first and second trimesters of pregnancy are great times to practice these movements to help maintain good spinal mobility, which is crucial for labor and delivery later on. This can also give you better control of your pelvis, adds Stockel, which can help a pregnant person find the optimal position in which to deliver.
Because they are effective from the start of pregnancy through delivery and even during the postpartum period, pelvic tilts are regarded as one of the best exercises during pregnancy. That’s why you should start them as soon as possible. Practicing regular pelvic tilts at this stage will help prepare you and your baby for the birth and ensure that your delivery goes as smoothly as possible.