In my first pregnancy I had Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction. Many of you are wondering what is this? The SI Joint connects the sacrum (bottom of the spine) with the pelvis. During pregnancy the hormones loosen the connective tissue of the back of the pelvis around the sacrum and the SI joint (which is normally a stable joint). The SI joint can move up and down causing extreme pain that can radiate into your outer hip and groin.
During my first pregnancy it was trial and error. I would do a yoga pose, feel the pain, have trouble getting out of the pose, did a bunch of cat/cow poses and eventually the pain would go away. I then knew to avoid that pose for the rest of my pregnancy. Once the pain was so excruciating it took me 25 minutes to limp home from the gym just 4 blocks away. Sometimes the pain would come just from walking, getting out of bed, bending down, etc.
Seven weeks into my second pregnancy I started to feel slight pain in my SI joint again, this was months earlier than my first pregnancy. I knew I could not go on for another 7 ½ months going in and out of pain. So I started to do some research and experimented with taking different yoga and Pilates classes. I realized my pelvis was unstable and I needed to work hip and pelvis stability. I started concentrating on engaging the muscles of the outer and inners hips, thighbones, and abdominals. I also started incorporating Pilates 1-2x a week into my fitness routine, to reinforce the stability of my pelvis. Now when I practice yoga I am conscious not to dump into my joints and my newfound flexibility. I am now 27 weeks into my pregnancy and have no pain in my SI joint and I can practice all the yoga poses I wasn't able to do during my first pregnancy.
It is so important to be in tune with your body and to nourish yourself throughout your pregnancy. Many women don't realize the increase of elasticity of their joints and muscles during pregnancy. While it is important to maintain flexibility to accommodate the growing baby during the birthing process it is also vital to work on building strength and pelvis stability. This will prevent pelvic instability and injuries to ligaments and joints, which are susceptible to injuries during pregnancy.
Tips for Stretching Safely While Pregnant:
Stretching has many benefits it is important that you know how to stretch safely to avoid injuries whether pregnant or not. If you have any questions about this please comment below.
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Jaclyn is a New York City based yoga and mat Pilates instructor, dedicated to living a healthy and active lifestyle.