This Women's Health Week, we're talking all things women's wellness. Follow along as our resident physical therapist Dr. Amy Hoover tackles hot-button topics, both here and on Instagram, all week long.
The excitement and anticipation during pregnancy is a wonderful time in an expectant mother’s life. With it comes many emotions and significant physical changes that may make it difficult to know what your body needs. Rest assured, exercising throughout pregnancy has many physical benefits, and can aid in labor, delivery and postnatal recovery. And even more so, giving yourself ample time to move throughout the day is necessary to destress. (Exercise has even been known to help treat postpartum depression.*)
Because the P.volve method is a low-impact, functional, and mindful exercise program, it’s safe for pregnancy and postpartum. P.volve focuses on postural alignment, strength training, flexibility, toning and circulation—all things that are crucial focuses for expecting mothers.
The first trimester often brings excessive fatigue due to the hormonal changes happening within your body, as well as the hard work your body is doing to grow your baby. You might not feel as energized as usual to exercise, but even 30 minutes of low-impact exercise can help improve blood flow and overall mood. It can also help prepare your body for the rest of your pregnancy by building or maintaining strong hips and abdominals, improving posture and facilitating proper movement patterns. Because of our mindful approach, you’ll be able to adapt to your changing bodies needs and continue to build strength and stability. In particular, this is a great time to begin to focus on posture with the p.band and 2 lb. hand weights so that you’ll be prepared to carry your newborn around with ease when the time comes.
The second trimester brings significant changes to your body, including widening of the pelvis and ribcage and of course increased weight in the abdomen as the uterus stretches with your growing baby. These changes (because they happen relatively quickly) can be hard for your muscular system to keep up with. This is the time when common issues can pop up, including lower back, pelvic, rib and sciatic pain. The best way to improve or prevent these issues is by maintaining good strength, flexibility and range of motion in the hips and working on functional core strengthening. Using resistance such as the ankle bands and p.ball will help you keep the muscles in the glutes and hips strong to meet your growing body and even working with the p.3 trainer will help keep the abdominals strong while still providing room for the baby to grow.
The third trimester is the home stretch, and with it comes more physical demand on your body as your baby continues to grow and change. Mobility gets more difficult as our brain wants to make us move how we did before pregnancy, but your body is not physically the same. Mindful exercise can help us map out more effective and efficient movement patterns to reinforce more comfortable movement, posture and positions.
The first three months after delivery is becoming more commonly known as the fourth trimester. During this period, your body is recovering from childbirth, adjusting to changing hormones and adapting to the dramatic physical changes that occurred literally overnight, This can be a trying time both mentally and physically as you adjust to motherhood and the demands that come with it. Right away, you can practice mindfulness of movement with everyday tasks such as lifting your baby, feeding or carrying car seats. Be mindful of moving your breath and engaging your muscles properly while performing these repetitive tasks to help decrease stresses on your body as it recovers. Get rest when you are able.
When you are medically cleared to exercise, easy back into post-pregnancy exercises with a beginner P.volve series and equipment-free workouts is a great place to start. As you gain strength, we recommend adding back in resistance with the equipment but be gentle, patient and kind to your body as it just performed an extraordinary miracle. Carving out some time for self care will allow you to be more present in the special moments that come with new motherhood.
Read more about P.volve and pregnancy here, and stay tuned for more important health topics throughout the week.
P.volve’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Dr. Amy Hoover consults the entire community about their work with our method. She’ll be continually providing feedback and answering important questions for the P.volve community, so keep an eye out for advice on the blog. Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org for topics you’d like Amy to cover!