Pregnancy and Postpartum
The Alexander Technique can help with a variety of issues that may come up during pregnancy. If a woman starts lessons early in her pregnancy, many problems may be avoided. Some issues that may be improved, eliminated or prevented include:
- Discomfort, pain or strain in the back, neck, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, or feet
- Shortness of breath
- Digestive discomfort
- Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
- Fatigue or depression
Here’s how improving your posture with the Alexander Technique can help. . .
Pregnancy is often a wake-up call that draws attention to existing postural habits that a person might otherwise ignore unless they are experiencing pain. The weight of the growing baby pulls the lumbar curve in, resulting in the arched lower back that we are accustomed to seeing on pregnant women. The neck and shoulders tense up and the cervical curve at the top of the spine becomes exaggerated and the thoracic (chest) area tightens and is thrust forward. Back pain often results as well as shortness of breath. The baby is taking up space where the diaphragm usually drops down during a breath. If the rib cage is tight and immobile, little room is left for breathing.
If instead of letting the back be pulled by the weight of the baby, the back can instead be strengthened and enlivened. The legs can release so that they support the pelvis (and the baby ) from below. Then the upper back, neck, and shoulders don't overcompensate and tense up, leading to a more relaxed feeling with less strain and more room to breathe.
Alexander Technique lessons are also a fun, relaxing, and engaging activity during pregnancy. The student learns how to manage her daily activities more efficiently and to move in ways that will avoid injury, free up breathing, feel lighter on her feet, and stronger in her back. A result of feeling more relaxed and energized is often improved mood and reduced fatigue.
When in labor, it is tempting to tense and recoil, as if to escape from the pain. The Alexander Technique can help a woman release tension, staying grounded and alert, and breathing during contractions The result may be less pain and the pain of the contraction is likely to dissipate more quickly. It can also lead to a feeling of being more on top of the pain rather than being bowled over by it.
Regardless of whether you decide to give birth naturally or with the use of pain medication, applying the Alexander Technique can be of great assistance when it's time to push. It can help make each push more effective an efficient.
During the weeks after a baby is born, a mother may feel strained and exhausted from lifting, holding and nursing her baby. These new demands can be especially challenging in light of recovering from having just given birth, switching from carrying the baby in her abdomen to suddenly bearing the weight of the baby with her arms and feeling sleep-deprived. The new mother may also feel off-balance in the absence of the weight in her belly that she had become accustomed to. Her abdominal muscles may feel weak. She may dislike the lack of tone in her abdomen. The Alexander Technique can help her to avoid straining and regain strength. She may find that her belly is toning up as a result of using her body efficiently in her everyday activities, as opposed to specifically exercising the abdominal muscles. Though the Alexander Technique will not make the baby sleep through the night, lack of sleep may become easier to cope with.
Parents bend over and lift their infants countless times per day and hold and carry them in baby carriers for extended periods. Mothers nursing infants often find themselves slumping to move down toward the baby or hiking their shoulders and straining to keep the baby close to them. Parents and child-care workers in New York City often carry a child and a heavy stroller up and down stairs to get in and out of the subway. Alexander Technique lessons transform holding and carrying a child from an exhausting task into a strengthening and enlivening experience.