Pelvic Tilt Exercise in Pregnancy: Types, Benefits & Precautions

Pelvic Tilt Exercises during Pregnancy – Benefits and Precautions

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sabiha Anjum (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
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Preparing for childbirth is akin to training for a significant event, necessitating practice and conditioning. Similar to an athlete honing her body for optimal performance, a prospective mother must engage in exercises to ready her body for labor. Through targeted prenatal exercises, the pelvis can be widened, aiding in positioning the baby favorably for childbirth. This proactive approach not only enhances physical well-being but also contributes to a smoother labor experience. Delve deeper into the subject by exploring the insights provided in this informative article. Understanding and embracing these practices can significantly impact the birthing process. Read on to learn more about pelvic tilt exercises while pregnant.

What Are Pelvic Tilt Exercises?

Exercises that are made up of very delicate movements of the spine that will support and strengthen the muscles around your lower back, especially the abdominal muscles, are known as pelvic tilt exercises. Not only do they relieve lower back pain, but they also give it a gentle massage in the process. They can be done while standing against a wall, on the hands and knees, and while sitting on an exercise ball.

Various Types of Pelvic Tilt Exercises

There are many types of pelvic exercises that you can try. Either stick to a few that you are comfortable with, or you can mix them up daily to keep things exciting.

1. Sitting

Pelvic Tilt Exercises - Sitting

Sitting may not seem like it’s an exercise at all, but when you have to carry the extra weight of your baby with you, learning to sit correctly can actually strengthen your core and stabilise your muscles.

How to Do It:

  • Use an exercise ball that is high enough to have your hips higher than your knees and firm enough to hold your weight when you sit on it.
  • Sit straight and upright and keep your pelvis tilted forward.

2. Leaning

Pelvic Tilt Exercises - Leaning

Pregnant women lean back a lot because of the weight that they need to carry around all the time. This kind of activity helps them balance it out.

How to Do It:

  • Lean on counters, people and tables to counteract all the backward leaning.
  • Use your exercise ball, cover it with your arms and upper body and roll around.
  • Your pelvis that is in midair will move in a way that strengthens it for birth.

3. Hands and Knees

Pelvic Tilt Exercises - Hands And Knees

This simple exercise is commonly known as the cat-cow pose. It keeps the lower back loose and relieves lower back pain.

How to Do It:

  • Get on your hands and knees. Keep your wrists parallel to your shoulders and knees directly below your hips.
  • Inhale and arch your back. The belly moves down, and the neck and tailbone move up.
  • Exhale and move your pelvis inward. Arch your back and keep your head down, as if you are trying to see your navel
  • Repeat at least ten times.

4. Standing

Pelvic Tilt Exercises - Standing

This exercise will require you to lean against a wall, and doing it daily will strengthen your pelvic muscles.

How to Do It:

  • Touch your bottom, shoulders and head to a wall.
  • Press the small gap of your back towards the wall while breathing in deeply.
  • Exhale and slowly relax.
  • Repeat the exercise at least ten times.

5. Lying Down

Pelvic Tilt Exercises - Lying Down

This exercise will strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.

How to Do It:

  • Lay on your back, bend your knees and keep your feet on the floor.
  • Move your pelvis forward and press the small gap of your back into the floor.
  • Relax your muscles and rest for a few seconds.
  • Repeat this as many times as you are comfortable.

6. Glute Bridge

By lying on your back and engaging key muscle groups, such as the pelvic floor and inner thighs, this exercise not only strengthens your core but also promotes optimal positioning for childbirth

How to Do It:

  • Start by lying on your back, with feet planted hip-width apart and knees facing upward. Position your heels close enough to your buttocks so that you can touch them with your fingertips.
  • Insert a Pilates ball, yoga block, or a rolled towel between your inner thighs.
  • Inhale, then exhale to engage your core and squeeze the ball. Press through your heels to elevate your buttocks, being cautious not to overextend at the top and avoiding arching your back.
  • Descend slowly to the initial position, releasing the pelvic floor as your hips reach the ground.
  • Complete 10 to 12 repetitions. Repeat up to three times, with a brief 15 to 20-second rest between sets for a more challenging workout.

7. Birth Squat

This deep squatting position, with feet slightly wider than hip-width and toes turned out, helps build strength in the lower body and encourages flexibility.

How to Do It:

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width, toes turned slightly outward. Begin bending your knees and hinge your torso forward.
  • Lower your pelvis towards the floor, passing the knees to assume a deep squat with grounded heels. (For added support, you can place yoga blocks or a small Pilates ball under the pelvis.)
  • Aim to sustain the position for at least 1 minute and 30 seconds initially, gradually progressing to holding for up to 3 minutes.

8. Foam Rolling

Ease tension in your inner thighs and enhance flexibility through Foam Rolling. This technique involves using a foam roller to massage and release tightness in the adductor muscles.

How to Do It:

  • To alleviate tension in your inner thighs (adductor muscles originating at the front of the pelvis), start in a forearm plank position. Bend your right leg and position a foam roller under your right inner thigh.
  • Move the roller slowly along the length of your inner thigh by rocking your body forward and backwards, using your elbows for support.
  • Repeat on the left side.

9. Happy Baby Stretch

Happy Baby Stretch

Source: Pinterest

This gentle yoga pose involves lying on your back, cradling your feet, and stretching your lower back and inner thighs. Cultivate a sense of relaxation and openness as you practice this stretch, which contributes to pelvic flexibility and overall well-being during pregnancy.

How to Do It:

  • Lie on your back, bend your knees toward your shoulders, and lift your feet so the soles face the ceiling. Flex both feet.
  • Reach your hands through the inside of your legs, gripping the inside of each foot.
  • Continue bending the knees towards your shoulders while pressing the feet upward into your hands and towards the ceiling. Lengthen your tailbone down to the floor. Focus on inhaling and releasing the space between the sit bones.
  • Aim to hold for at least 1 minute and 30 seconds initially, gradually progressing to holding for up to 3 minutes.

Benefits of Doing Pelvic Tilt Exercise in Pregnancy

Exercise has many benefits, and during pregnancy, there is no exception. If you are looking for a nudge to start exercising, the benefits of doing pelvic tilt exercises during pregnancy are as follows:

  • It will help to prevent or treat gestational diabetes.
  • Helps in improving your mood.
  • Aids in toning the muscles, in improving strength and endurance.
  • Improves stamina and energy.
  • Helps to improve your posture.
  • Aids in improving your sleep.
  • Constipation, bloating, swelling and backaches.
  • Helps to improve your ability to cope with labour, and some women even use pelvic tilts to induce labour.
  • Will help your body get back in shape faster after delivery.

Who Should Perform the Pelvic Tilt Exercises?

Pregnant women should all try to get into the habit of doing some pelvic exercises throughout their pregnancy as they are very beneficial to them. Those women who suffer from pelvic girdle pain, AKA Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction especially, should do these exercises as they will help relieve the tension they have in the pelvic area and strengthen the muscles therein. Converse with your doctor before starting any new exercises if you have been diagnosed with this particular condition. Women who are in their third trimester are often encouraged to do pelvic exercises during times of foetal activity as they encourage the baby to move into the correct position for birth, and they widen and open up the pelvis. When you do the exercises on your hands and knees, your abdomen gets turned into a hammock, enabling your baby to get into the anterior position, ensuring an easier birth.

When Should You Do Pelvic Tilt Exercises?

If you have had a long and tiring day and wished to find some relief for your aching back, pelvic tilts are a great way to go. They can also be done to aid maternal positioning to affect the position of the foetus during pregnancy and delivery. If your baby still has not dropped by 38 weeks, pelvic tilts will help you to support the movement of your baby into the correct birthing position. If you start pelvic tilts at the start of the eighth month, you will find it most beneficial for both you and your baby. Pelvic tilt exercises are even helpful during labour, and women who wish to ease the pain in their backs due to contractions can always ask their caregiver to remind them to get into the cat pose. So beneficial are pelvic tilt exercises that they are great to do when trying to conceive, throughout your pregnancy, during labour and even after, while you are recovering.

When Should You Avoid Pelvic Tilt Exercises?

Pelvic tilts are versatile, and there are usually not many reasons to avoid doing them unless you have complications with your pregnancy and your doctor tells you it is best to avoid any kind of exercise. Also, if you plan to do pelvic tilt exercises after delivery, ensure you consult your doctor before starting them. They are better avoided until six months post-surgery if you have delivered by cesarean section.

Things to Consider Before and After Doing the Pelvic Tilt Exercises

Here are some things to keep in mind before and after doing your pelvic tilt exercises:

Before

  • If you are going to do pelvic tilts, ensure you have your doctor’s consent.
  • If your wrists and knees are swollen, use pillows to support your knees or abstain from doing the exercises that require you to be on your hands and knees.
  • If you want the exercises to be most effective and you are a new mom, you should have your pelvic joints, and abdominal muscles worked on.
  • They are also important for mothers who have had to have a medical intervention because of the position of the baby. Those who have had long labours and those who start exercising late in their pregnancy can also benefit from pelvic tilt exercises

After

  • Some women like to end with the downward pose.
  • If you feel dizzy during any of the exercises, stop immediately.

What Are the Advantages of Pairing Pelvic Tilt Workouts With Kegel Exercises in Pregnancy?

Pairing kegels and pelvic tilts during pregnancy offers several advantages. Firstly, pelvic tilt exercises strengthen the core and lower back, promoting better posture and reducing back pain. Additionally, these movements enhance pelvic flexibility, potentially aiding in easier labor. When combined with Kegel exercises, which target pelvic floor muscles, the duo contributes to improved pelvic stability, reduced incontinence issues, and enhanced overall muscle tone, crucial for supporting the changes that occur during pregnancy and preparing for childbirth.

Mistakes to Avoid When Doing Pelvic Tilt Exercises When Pregnant

Embarking on a prenatal fitness journey is commendable, and incorporating pelvic tilt exercises can bring numerous benefits. However, it’s crucial to be mindful of potential mistakes that could impact both the effectiveness and safety of these workouts. To ensure a smooth and beneficial experience, steer clear of the following pitfalls.

  • Overarching the Back: Resist the temptation to overextend your lower back during pelvic tilt exercises. Overarching can strain the spine and counteract the intended benefits.
  • Neglecting Breath Control: Failing to synchronize proper breathing with pelvic tilts can hinder their effectiveness. Remember to inhale during the initial tilt and exhale when returning to the neutral position to engage core muscles effectively.
  • Rushing Through Repetitions: Quality matters more than quantity. Avoid rushing through pelvic tilts; instead, perform controlled movements to target and engage the muscles properly.
  • Ignoring Body Alignment: Ensure correct body alignment by maintaining a neutral spine. Misalignment can lead to unnecessary strain on the back and pelvic region.
  • Skipping Warm-up: Neglecting a proper warm-up before pelvic tilt exercises can increase the risk of injury. Incorporate gentle stretches to prepare the muscles for the workout.
  • Disregarding Individual Comfort: Every pregnancy is unique; listen to your body and modify exercises as needed. If you experience discomfort or pain, consult with your healthcare provider and adjust your routine accordingly.

FAQs

1. How Can You Do Pelvic Rocks In Pregnancy?

Performing pelvic rocks during pregnancy involves lying on your back with knees bent, then gently tilting your pelvis upward and downward. This movement helps strengthen the core and alleviate back discomfort. Always consult with your healthcare provider and consider modifications for comfort.

2. Is It Safe to Do Plank Exercise During Pregnancy?

Yes, planks can be safe during pregnancy when performed in proper form. Modify by keeping your body in a straight line from head to heels, and consider doing planks on your knees rather than toes. Always consult your healthcare provider and be attentive to your body’s signals.

3. What Are the Other Exercises to Support Your Pelvic Tilt Routine During Pregnancy?

Include exercises like Kegels, and squats, and tailor sitting to complement your pelvic tilt routine. Kegels enhance pelvic floor muscles, squats strengthen the lower body, and tailored sitting promotes flexibility. Consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice on exercises that align with your pregnancy.

It is always best to start the right pelvic exercises as soon as you know you are pregnant, but even if you have not, it is never too late to start. Consult your doctor on what exercises are best and get started.

References/Resources:

1. Exercise During Pregnancy FAQs; The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/exercise-during-pregnancy

2. Physical Activity and Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period; The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2020/04/physical-activity-and-exercise-during-pregnancy-and-the-postpartum-period

3. Pregnancy stretches; Mayo Clinic; https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy/art-20546838?s=5

4. Chaudhry. S, Nahian. A, Chaudhry. K; Anatomy, Abdomen and Pelvis, Pelvis; National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482258/

5. Exercise in pregnancy; NHS UK; https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/exercise/

6. Pregnancy and exercise; Better Health; https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/pregnancy-and-exercise

7. Exercise During Pregnancy; American Pregnancy Association; https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/is-it-safe/exercise-during-pregnancy/

Also Read:

Pelvic Exam during Pregnancy
Pregnancy Exercises for Normal Delivery
Abdominal Exercises to do during Pregnancy
Exercises You Should Avoid when Pregnant

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