When I was in my 3rd trimester, I started to notice how hard it was to TAKE A DEEP ENOUGH BREATH! The thing is, I would not have noticed this issue if I was not out of breath so often. While at first, I caught myself trying to breathe harder, I realized that it would be better to focus on opening up the thoracic (upper back) region so that I could breathe into my ribs more. This alone was a lifesaver to my upper body tension.
Most of us have a rib cage that is restricted in some way from how we have moved and held our bodies throughout our lives. We’ve lost the ability to mobilize the upper back! As an example, sitting at a desk without moving much doesn’t help the mobility of our rib cage. So, yes, it IS going to be harder for most pregnant moms to breathe properly with these restrictions. In addition to being more mindful about rib breathing, we want to work on opening up the upper body, getting more mobile in common tight spots and gaining more space as we grow during pregnancy.
Here are a few simple exercises that can really help with releasing upper body tension so that breathing becomes easier as well. These focus a lot on rotation. We are big fans of rotation because many pregnant moms are so locked down in their ribs that they cannot rotate, creating even more pressure in their core and pelvic floor and tension.
Sit comfortably. Hold both arms in front of you, inhale and as you exhale hiss the exhale slowly and twist your chest to the right ensuring that your hips are mostly stable. Keep gently twisting on each exhale and reach your right arm long long away from you. Keep your spine long, no slouching or excessive rib lifting / thrusting. Switch sides holding just a breath 6 times and then hold 5 breaths each side. Amazing for your spine, shoulders, chest and core.
Come to your hands and knees, knees a little wider than feet. A neutral spine so no tucking your pelvic or collapsing your chest. Inhale and raise your right hand toward the right, up to the sky. Turn your chest as you do so, twisting gently and allow your hips to shift to the right. Lift away from your left arm and try not to let your right shoulder fall into your ear so reach your right hand up to the sky. Gently move your chest in the direction of your nose (like back arching but way less). Hold 5 breaths and switch. This works your core, arms, spine and shoulders.
We would be honoured to support you on your marvelous journey.