When I first started studying alignment it was very overwhelming! The world of biomechanics is fascinating and has endless applications to the way we move, live, and function every single day. I will be talking about alignment and applying it specifically to the health of our core + pelvic floor and the importance of correct alignment during pregnancy.
Of course we need another anatomy background lesson, so here goes! Alignment is often times confused with posture, but posture and alignment are two very different things!
When we talk about alignment we are referring to the position of our thoracic cavity, abdominal cavity, and the pelvic cavity in relation to one another.
Image taken from Katy Bowman's book
Why does alignment of these structures matter during pregnancy and for strengthening our core + pelvic floor? A simple answer is that proper alignment primes your core muscles for working properly and allows them to be in proper position. This reduces intra-abdominal pressure and lessens the load placed on the linea alba (remember this is the connective tissue that runs down the midline of the rectus muscles). The same is true for the pelvic floor - proper alignment allows your pelvic organs and muscles to be in proper position, work properly, and lessens the load placed on pelvic muscles. Proper alignment is vital to reducing internal pressures and during pregnancy there is already additional internal pressure in the form of an adorable little human being! Proper alignment will also reduce your risk of those same postpartum injuries that can occur with improper core + pelvic floor strengthening: diastasis recti, general core + pelvic floor weakness, prolapses, and hernias. Proper alignment and proper core training go hand in hand to create strong and functional muscles.
When addressing alignment there are two main things to look for and fix, if necessary:
- Rib Thrusting: This is when the thoracic cavity is lifted out of proper position. This places an unnatural strain on the linea alba, creating too much internal pressure that weakens the core and produces ineffective force and function for the core muscles.
|Rib Thrusting Proper Ribcage Alignment|
- Pelvis Tilting: This is when the pelvic cavity is brought too far forward or back, resulting in improper positioning. This creates pressure in the pelvis and especially on the pelvic muscles. It also creates issues for the pelvic organs and reduces proper functioning.
Proper Alignment + Assessment
Again, some things are easier to show and explain, so watch this video to learn how to do a quick assessment of your own alignment and to learn some tips on how to make changes if necessary!
I want you to spend the next few days becoming aware of your alignment, both during exercise and daily activities. When you reach for something up high, or do your hair, does your ribcage lift? Do you tend to tuck your pelvis under when you stand? Learn what your habits are. You can’t change unhealthy habits if you are not sure what they are! As you become aware of what your alignment habits are, start making small changes so eventually you can have great alignment naturally without having to think about it! Let me know how it goes over the next few days.
Join me for my last post where we will be learning some exercises you can start doing each day to strengthen and connect to your core + pelvic floor!
About the Author:
Hey, I’m Nicole Atwood! I am a wife to my love and a mother to the sweetest little girl + one on the way! I am a prenatal and postpartum personal trainer with a true passion to help women feel connected + confident in their bodies. I focus on educating about proper core + pelvic floor health during pregnancy, after pregnancy, and beyond! I also have a deep love for milkshakes, Harry Potter, and autumn time when the leaves are changing colors and falling! Let’s be friends and connect on social media! You can find me on instagram and facebook where I share fitness tips, core + pelvic floor information, and little bits of my personal journey through this second pregnancy! You can also find me on www.abeautyblooming.com/blog