In part deux of this three-part series, I’m now well past the first trimester – I’ve just hit my 26th week mark! If you’re also past the first 12 weeks, chances are the discomforts of the first few months, such as nausea and fatigue, have now cleared up, replaced with renewed vitality and energy. You’re also beginning to show the full splendor of your baby carriage and maybe having to answer a slew of questions about how far along you are, how much or not you are showing, if it’s a boy or a girl, and whether you’ve picked a name yet!
As your uterus migrates north above the belly button and the load of your little “guest” becomes more prominent you may start to experience new naggings – leg cramps, constipation, difficulty breathing, heartburn, hemorrhoids, tired feet and an aching back are common complaints.
I had a client recently tell me that the size of my belly hadn’t yet caught up with the growth of my chest! Little did he know he wasn’t far from the truth – my chest has grown exponentially, and as a result of the extra weight I am carrying around, my upper back is really giving me grief. Add to that spending the last weeks sleeping on my left side – compressing my left shoulder – and it’s easy to see why waking up in the morning isn’t the most pleasant these days!
If that sounds familiar, rest assured there is a self-care relief solution – your Yoga Tune Up® therapy balls! Moving through the upper back sequence in the video below is the first and last thing I do every single day. Rolling when I get out of bed sets me up for a pain-free day, and caring for my upper back before bed helps me fall asleep and enjoy a fairly decent night. This much kneaded sequence also serves to replenish my breath and gives my upper back and ribcage muscles a good stretch, and – bonus – keeps my intra-abdominal pressure optimal (more on that below). If lying down on your back is no longer comfortable you can enjoy this entire sequence at the wall with toted therapy balls.
Other knead to roll spots include the feet, calves, and hips, but when I’m limited on time, I always prioritize my feet – several times a day when I can. You’d be surprised the ton of good sole rolling can do to improve blood circulation in the lower limbs and to keep swelling at bay – meaning you won’t have to surrender to foot schmear and buy bigger shoes!
With fatigue and nausea now a distant memory, the second trimester is also the best time to upkeep your fitness regime, albeit with some modifications if and when needed. I’m still attending Kettlebell classes, but have reduced the weight I’m using and pay extra attention to my posture as I swing or do presses. I’ve also begun to play around with modifications in yoga classes, such as replacing the vinyasa with a Child’s pose with spinal extension – which feels great on the back – and using props galore for support and comfort! I have also retired backbends and upper abdominal curls to reduce the risk of diastasis recti, or abdominal separation.
Come back Friday to find out why your breath and posture are essential to decrease the chances of DR as well as a few more useful tips and advice to maintain your core without going hard core!