Forward Head Posture in Pregnancy

As you’re reading this where is your head? To be more precise, where are your ears? Directly above your shoulders where they should be? Unless you are a ballet dancer or seriously into sport then probably not. Thanks to our sedentary, computer-dependant world most people, from their early teens have a less than perfect upper body posture.

The adult head weighs on average 12lb (5.5Kg). For every inch the head protrudes forward, an extra 10lb of load is added. So if the head is 2 inches forward, that’s a whopping 14.5Kg!! In order to keep the body from toppling forwards, the muscular system has to rearrange the whole posture. Muscles become locked tight and painful, others stretched and weak. There are many long-term health implications if this is allowed to continue; cervical disc herniation, nerve compression, fat deposits at the back of the neck, headaches…

If you are or have recently been pregnant, then this may well be a significant problem for you (in case you haven’t got enough of those already!). As pregnancy progresses, the body is continually adapting and compensating to maintain it’s balance. The head moves forwards, the muscles across the chest tighten, pulling the shoulders towards the front causing the classic pain across the rear shoulders and neck. Further down, the pelvis tilts, compressing the lumbar vertebrae resulting in chronic pain. As we all know, following birth the body won’t just ping back to it’s pre-pregnant position. To put it another way, the whole support system is thrown out of whack and could use some help!

The key to successfully realigning the postnatal body isn’t just in knowing which muscles to strengthen and which to release or stretch. It’s also knowing the order in which to do all of this and how, in a way that is best suited to the unique you.

And posture also affects the function of the stabilising, supportive core. If the pelvis is tipping excessively forwards, then all the muscles attached to it will be pulled out of line too. I’m talking abdominals and pelvic floor muscles, that’s half of the deep core system, but that’s for another time…

The bottom line is (literally!) posture matters. Now and for your future health.