I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a prenatal or post-partum movement specialist. I do however, get to work with clients and friends who are prenatal or post-partum, and there are tons of excellent resources out there that have nothing to do with diet, birth plan, or parenting decisions. Musicians mamas often work all the way up to birth, and sometimes start playing within weeks of birth. Thus, the issues that mamas and mamas to be face as working musicians can be challenging: back pain, acid reflex, PFD...all of these can hamper your ability to breathe well, play your instrument, and sit well. Here's a few of my favorite resources for women:
Posture for Pregnancy and Beyond! Pregnancy is often a time of back pain, hip pain, and general musculoskeletal pangs. Look at how you move to support your growing belly!
Prenatal Exercise that Soothes Pregnancy Symptoms. Jill Miller writes about a series of different movements and restoratives that can aid in common pregnancy woes including heartburn and back pain.
Pregnant Women Have No Fear: Everything You Should Know About Prenatal Yoga - Prenatal yoga often is a prop-filled playground of hanging out on bolsters and relaxing...but what about gaining strength as your body produces relaxacin? (A hormone loosening up your joints, ligaments, etc.) There's incredible value with strengthening and moving during pregnancy, rather than couch surfing, especially because once the baby's out, you'll be carrying that child/ren with you everywhere. While your joints are becoming unstable, consider a combination of restoratives with strength-building actions to support your own body and your new child's.
Aligning or Relaxin? Katy Bowman looks at what relaxin does (it doesn't stretch muscles!) before birth.
- Get out of positive-heeled shoes. It will make all the difference in the world! (Aka. Wear flats, ASAP!)
- Squat, a few times every day. See Squat Blog: http://www.katysays.com/2010/06/02/you-dont-know-squat/
- If your body is already too damaged to squat, follow the more basic, non-squat exercises until you are strong enough to handle the full range of motion.
- Walk, walk, walk. Work up to 5 miles a day, if possible, broken up throughout the day if needed.
- Minimize sitting in chairs and change up your sitting postures often.
- Find your Transverse Abdominals and see if you can fire them. See TVA Blog: http://www.katysays.com/2010/06/22/what-a-waist/
- Stop tucking your pelvis, right now. In fact, stick your butt out while you’re reading this.
Diastasis Recti: Do you know what it is? Do you have it? Here's Katy Bowman's definition: A musculoskeletal injury, where the rectus abdominus tears at the connective tissue, separating it from the linea alba – a collagen cord that runs from the bottom of your sternum to the front of your pelvis. What that basically means is that your rectus abdominus (your six pack muscle) separates from your pelvis, where it attaches. This is often a post-partum woe, but is often a result of misalignment in standing and walking, as well as a lifetime of wearing heeled shoes and tucking the pelvis. What that also means is that all the situps in the world won't help you and that you need to tackle this particular problem before you go crazy trying to "get your body back." You have to reintegrate your core (and get things where they belong!) and inCOREporate first! Read Katy's blog about alignment as well!
PFD: Pelvis Floor Dysfunction. This is another biggie issue affecting the Post-partum ladies, and the blanket solution is often kegel, kegel, kegel! This is a way more complicated issue with the musculature of the pelvic floor not supporting urinary and evacuation functions of the body, as well as many other issues. There can be bladder issues, bowel issues, pelvic pain, hernias, and more, so do some reading before you kegel till the cows come home.
Women's Only: No Peeing With Double Unders. Even if you're a BC (before child) woman, incontinence can be a big issue with high intensity workouts, whether that be crossfit, running, triathalons, etc. Learn how to support healthy PF muscles in your daily life, and how to stop workout incontinence.
Super Kegel! By Katy Bowman
Kegel Queen by Katy Bowman