In Part 1 of my blog post about mammahood, I spoke about the importance of good posture and shared tips to facilitate the breath using the Coregeous® ball.

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!

Enjoyed this article? Read The Perfect Posture for a Pain-Free Pregnancy.
Emilie Mikulla

Having contracted a major case of wanderlust, Emilie has traveled the world, working as journalist, and now lives Dubai. After a second surgery on her spine, Emilie followed a lengthy Pilates rehabilitation program and, amazed by the results in her own body, became a comprehensively trained Pilates instructor in 2008. Emilie has taught in Thailand, South Africa, Dubai and in San Francisco. Emilie is an E-RYT and has completed her trainings with YogaWorks and Yoga Tree San Francisco, before earning her Yoga Tune Up® certification from Jill Miller. She has also spent hundreds of hours assisting her mentor Harvey Deutch PT at RedHawk Physical Therapy clinic in San Francisco, in teacher trainings, and on retreats at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. She has also recently participated in a week-long cadaver dissection workshop with Gil Hedley of Integral Anatomy. Emilie is the Lifestyle Editor for Women's Health & Fitness Middle East where she contributes a variety of articles and columns ranging from fitness and wellness, inspirational stories and nutrition. Blending dynamic movement with therapeutic releases, Emilie’s classes will empower you to practice the activities you love with awareness and joy.

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Kila

My sister is in the second trimester and just yesterday we were talking about how much her chest has grown and how she can use Therapy Balls to release some of the tension in her upper back and shoulders! Ill definitely get her rolling out her feet as well while she’s doing school work to combat the swelling. Thank you!

Tessa Watson

I am always happy to find more ways to integrate ytu into my prenatal classes. Since this method wasn’t around during my pregnancies I don’t know how to embody the practices. I appreciate hearing others experiences so that I may teach better.

Evelyne Linder

Ball work is so important now that I am pregnant. I find that I have to take them a lot to the wall since I am so, so sore everywhere.

Kelly

After I had my second baby, I had a bunch of body issues that could have been prevented through rolling. I wish I had known!! Now with two active young kids and more knowledge, giving my back much needed roll helps alleviate discomfort as well as doing exercises to strengthen my hip and shoulder joints.

bee pallomina

Thank you for this post. I have a toddler at home and the upper back sequence is also great for all the lifting I do. Wish I had known about it during pregnancy and nursing.

bee pallomina

Thank you for this post. I have a toddler at home and this sequence for the upper back is also great for all the lifting I do all day long. Totally wish I had known about it during pregnancy and during nursing as well.

marthe

All the positions and contortions any mom has to go through to bring comfort to one’s baby can really take a toll on shoulders and back. Unfortunately, I did not know one could find relief from therapy balls during my pregnancy. I certainly look forward to sharing what I know with “aching” mothers so their bonding time can be more enjoyable.

Évelyne Paquin

Je suis contente d’avoir pris connaissance de votre article. Je saurai maintenant conseiller les nouvelles mamans pour les aider à soulager leur maux de dos et réduire leur inconfort aux pieds.

Ariane Fournier

Intéressant de lire cette semaine partie du blog! Cela m’a vraiment convaincue d’inciter mes amies ou les femmes de mon entourage qui sont enceintes à utiliser les balles! Elles ont tellement de bienfaits ????

Christina

I wish I had these balls when I was pregnant! So many ache and pains could have been helped! Great article, lots of useful tips.vthanks for sharing.

Mandy

More great advice. I had to share this with a friend who described the same changes and experiences for herself.

Diana Germain

I wish I had known about therapy balls when I was pregnant years ago, I’m sure it would have helped improve circulation and also helped with keeping some aches and pains at bay. Additionally postpartum would be a great time to use the therapy balls to help normalize tissues and reduce swelling.

Susan Jaffee

Excellent tips for my friends and students who are expecting.

jaclyn

Thanks- I needed to read that today! I have also been surfing from left shoulder discomfort as I attempt to spend most of the time asleep on my left. I have an old shoulder injury that can flare up and i love the idea of using the balls every morning to reset and a few times throughout the day on the soles of my feet to bring circulation back.

Sarah Harmon

I actually did an upper back sequence today and it was SO great. I posted on on your first entry that my first trimester was rough and exercise dropped off. I’m thrilled to be feeling better and to be motivated/ready to start to give my body some TLC. I am going to adopt your nightly routine of the upper back, as I’m also not used to having this extra weight on my chest. It’s quite the adjustment. Thanks for all the suggestions and sharing your personal story.

Julia Sims Haas

Pregnancy is such a perfect time to use therapy balls to reduce the added tension and stress placed on the body. My prenatal students always have upper back pain. Rolling the pecs would be a nice addition to this sequence, too.

Laura Davies

Interesting to read about the effects of the balls on the feet and reduction of swelling. It makes complete sense when I think about it and the YTU balls are perfect because even with reduced mobility to bend anyone can lift their foot to step and roll on ball. And so many other benefits will start at the feet