Stand with your feet hip width apart facing forward. Check weight is balanced between inside and outside of each foot as well as front and back of each foot and equal left and right. Knees straight, not locked. Pelvis neutral, place the heels of your hands lightly on the front of your hip bones and extend your fingers to your pubic bone. These bony points should line up. Relax your shoulders down, gently drawing the shoulder blades down and towards each other. Stretch the back of your neck by thinking of lifting the crown of your head towards the ceiling. When working in standing, try to keep work close to you and work at waist height to avoid leaning e.g. nappy changing, bathing baby, food preparation, washing up.
Try to maintain the upright posture developed in standing, think about “walking tall”, maintaining gentle tension in your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles (belly button to spine) to hold your hips level. If using a baby sling, keep the baby snug and central. Avoid leaning back to compensate for the weight of the baby or rounding shoulders. When pushing a buggy or shopping trolley, keep elbows bent with the buggy or trolley close, adjust the handle if possible to waist height. Pushing up hill requires a stronger contraction through the abdominal muscles to maintain the best possible posture.
Feet hip width apart, facing forward, heels positioned under knees. Try to position the hips at a right angle, with weight equal between left and right sit bones. Use a small rolled towel about waist height to help support the natural curve of your lower back. Shoulders should be relaxed with shoulder blades gently pulling back and down towards each other. Stretch the back of your neck by lifting the crown of your head towards the ceiling and drawing the chin back.
Whilst holding this posture, lift the pelvic floor and gently draw navel to spine. If you are feeding your baby support baby on pillows and maintain your upright posture. Avoid twisting body or rounding shoulders.
Getting out of a chair
Remember to bring your weight to the front of the chair before attempting to stand. Shuffle bottom forward, and then lean to bring your nose over your toes before pushing up with the legs. Avoid twisting whilst standing up, especially if holding any type of load e.g. baby
When turning over in bed, keep knees together and reach arm over in the same direction. Hold the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles firmly throughout any rolling or twisting movements. When getting out of bed, roll onto side, lower legs over side at same time as pushing up with arm. Keep your legs bent to aid in the motion of getting up
Bending and Stretching
When securing a child in to a car seat, or a car seat in to a car, bend from the hips and knees not the waist, whilst contracting the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles to support the back. Take care not to over stretch.
Lifting and carrying
When lifting get as close as possible to the load to be lifted e.g. toddler, washing basket, Moses basket, vacuum, buggy and use the strong muscles of the legs to push up with whilst keeping the back straight and drawing in the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles.
Everything should be held centrally, close to the body e.g. baby, toddler, shopping, car seat, buggies. Alternatively, where possible, split the load so it can be managed equally left and right, e.g. shopping bags, or use a rucksack. Avoid leaning to compensate for the altered weight distribution, or rounding the shoulders.
Exercising for life
Many women choose to go back to swimming and non-contact sports after their six week check. If you participate in contact sport or activities it is advisable to wait until three months after the birth before returning to these activities. If you have any questions on what you should or should not be doing, ask your Women’s Health Physiotherapist (telephone number below).