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How important is your psoas muscle for birth?

Image of a pelvis and muscles, particularly the psoas muscles

12 Apr, 2023

Psoas muscle? Birth? How do they connect?

You might not have even heard of your psoas muscle. It is a bit of a secret muscle – but so important.

These are such amazing muscles that are so important during birth, and they are not spoken about enough. They connect our spine with the top of our femur/thigh bone. We have one on each side of our body. There are four (possibly even 6) muscles in total but the ones on each side almost work together as one.

The Psoas’ primary action is to flex the hips. They also play an essential role in stabilising the spine and offering structural support for your internal organs.

Chronic stress and posture issues can cause the psoas muscles to contract and remain tight. This might result in hip and back issues, digestive problems, shallow breathing, and a feeling of unease that links with anxiety.

Sitting for long periods of time, wearing high heels, sleeping in the foetal position, bad posture, and excessive exercise without knowledge of stretching can contribute to these issues.

Our Psoas muscles are such an important part of birth!

It’s a fight or flight muscle so any fears, doubts or uncertainty can trigger the muscle to tense up. This then prepares your legs to physically flee the situation.

Sitting deep in the core, when the psoas tight it can restrict space for the uterus and lead to imbalance. This can impact baby’s positioning and ultimately the birth.

A tight psoas muscle can also restrict space in the body for your internal organs. These are also severely impacted by the growing baby. Combined together it can cause issues there too, particularly with digestion.

The most important things to note are:

  • These muscles need to remain released. When these muscles are tight, it can result in discomfort, low back pain, aches, pelvic imbalance, structural and postural problems, interference of the movement of fluids, constricting of the organs and nerves, and even limiting breathing.
  • These muscles are responsible for our fight-flight-freeze response, so if there is adrenaline pumping through your body, they can become tense. And we know that isn’t great for birth.
  • They have a real impact on baby’s positioning, your comfort in pregnancy but also in your birth.  The psoas releases and creates a spiralling motion to help baby descend further into the pelvis during birth.
  • The nerves of the reproductive organs run very close to the psoas muscles. Tight psoas muscles may restrict these nerves and create more discomfort during your birth. Especially one associated with back pain and or leg referral

The great news is that you can work on releasing your psoas muscle during pregnancy. You can learn about birth by taking active birth antenatal classes such as our CubCare range of classes. CubCare Active Antenatal class is a wonderful class to practice the techniques each week.

Knowing about birth will lower your chances of the fight-flight-freeze response initiating.

You can also work on your mindset to lower the chances of adrenaline entering your body to restrict this important set of muscles.

Again, a CubCare antenatal class will work with your choices to help you make the confident decisions you need for your big day.

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