The psoas. If you are like me, the first time I heard this word, I had no idea what it was and what, if anything, it had to do with birth. But I’ve learned since, that a prenatal psoas release can be an important stretch.
What can we do about a tight psoas during pregnancy
There are some stretches that everyone should be doing, but pregnant women should be doing them with the idea that it will help create an easier birth and help relieve psoas pain during pregnancy. The first thing that needs to be done is a psoas release. Basically, it is just allowing your muscles to relax.
First the Psoas Stretch
These should be added to our daily exercise routine.
Second: The Importance of the Psoas Muscle in Pregnancy
Essentially, the psoas is a muscle that attaches at your thoracic (mid back) bones and your femur (upper thigh bone). A few important points to note:
1) The psoas act like a shelf for the internal organs. Because of this, a tight psoas can affect the space within the abdomen.
2) A tight psoas can limit the range of motion in the spine, pelvis and legs. This can then limit the ability to assume positions in birth that may be beneficial.
3) Tight psoas also decrease circulation and innervation to the uterus and other organs which may cause more problems with pain and function during labor.
A note on fear and pain and the psoas
Pain which leads to fear, can lead to the tightening of the psoas, which then has the consequences listed above. Learning to relax the psoas as well as the rest of the body is important, not just for controlling pain, but for helping our body to function optimally for birth. This is important for a mom who is working on a natural birth, as well as a mom who has an epidural. Being free from pain does not equal being free from fear and anxiety. Thus, learning techniques such as progressive relaxation, deep breathing, mindfulness training, along with therapies such as aromatherapy, reflexology and hydrotherapy(the use of hot water to control pain) is a big part of helping a woman in labor no matter their choices(all of these are taught in the certification course).