We are all very aware of the increase in hormones that occur during pregnancy. There are three big ones produced during your nine months: Relaxin, Estrogen, and Progesterone. These all play a major role in your baby's growth and development however, the effects of Relaxin are typically overlooked in prenatal care and fitness.
Relaxin is in your body to "relax" the ligaments and tissue and allow the pelvis to widen for delivery, but - because it is released throughout the entire body - it also relaxes all of your ligaments and tissue!
This can cause many issues:
- Looser ligaments allow for overstretching, resulting in pulls and strains
- The pelvic floor relaxes, which can result in loss of control over bladder
- Weakened stability of the pelvis wreaks havoc on your posture
- Relaxing abdominal and digestive tissue allows for heartburn
So how do you keep Relaxin from getting the best of you? Here are eight tips for staying safe and comfortable!
- Always hold each stretch at a comfortable tension. You can't always tell when you're pushing it too far with your newfound elastic ligaments! There are many great stretches on knockedupfitness.com.
- Use light stretching as your warm-up along with walking. Going into a workout with cold muscles in addition to your pregnancy hormones can cause extreme soreness the next day.
- USE CAT COW! A perfect total body stretch for any trimester that I personally use with all my clients:
- Begin on all fours with your hands directly under the shoulders and knees under the hips with a neutral spine.
- Exhale, engaging the core and pelvic floor while rounding the spine.
- Inhale, relaxing the pelvic floor and arching the spine.
- Watch your posture. Always try and stand with your head high and out of your neck, your ears over the shoulders, your shoulders back, and your pelvis and spine in a neutral position.
- Eat healthy and exercise. Try your best to workout 2-6 hours weekly. Allowing your tendons and ligaments to weaken results in the muscles overcompensating, which creates even more pain.
- Try eating six smaller meals instead of three large ones to avoid heartburn. Slow down at mealtime and allow your body to digest at its own speed.
- Take a walk after bigger meals. Assist your body in moving things along so food isn't just sitting on your stomach.
- Ginger is your friend! If heartburn does rear its ugly head, try ginger tea or candied ginger to soothe before resulting to medication.
Relaxin is unavoidable but it doesn't have to get in the way of a healthy and comfortable pregnancy!