posture in pregnancy

Posture in Pregnancy: Do’s & Don’ts

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Last Updated on 26 Dec, 2018

Posture is the position in which you hold your body while standing, sitting, or lying down. Good posture during pregnancy involves training your body to stand, walk, sit, and lie in positions where the least strain is placed on your back.

As your pregnancy progresses, everyday activities such as sitting and standing can become uncomfortable. Following good postures and regular pregnancy exercises (supervised by an expert) could help you avoid certain common aches and pain related to increasing baby bump.

How can I improve my posture during Pregnancy?

We begin this post with a list of do’s and don’ts that will help you improve your posture during pregnancy and keep your body happy. Keep reading to find these pointers in detail.

You may also want to read : What’s causing your back pain? Is it poor posture

Good Posture during Pregnancy : Do’s

Here are few do’s or good practices that will help you improve your posture during pregnancy and keep your body happy.

  • Irrespective of what your doing – cooking or working on a desk, remember to take a break every few hours
  • Take a longer meal break every four hours
  • Vary work positions continuously, from sitting to standing and walking.
  • While sitting – use small pillow or cushion to provide extra support for your back
  • Keep your hips and knees at a right angle when sitting (use a foot rest or stool, if needed). Your feet should be flat on the floor.
  • While sitting, point your feet in the same direction, with weight balanced evenly on both feet
  • Sleep on your left side with knees slightly bent with a pillow between your knees
  • Try simple stretches or any sort of movements to keep the blood flowing. (Contact a ReLivaTM expert for a customized stretching program as per your stage of pregnancy)
  • Try to practice relaxation techniques for stress free pregnancy.
  • While standing, hold your head up straight with your chin in. Keep shoulder blades back and your chest forward, knees straight, buttocks tucked in.

Poor Posture during Pregnancy : Don’ts

Here are a few don’ts that will help you improve your posture during pregnancy and keep your pregnant body happy.

  • Avoid prolonged standing.
  • Avoid sitting in the same position for more than 30 mins
  • Avoid crossing the leg while sitting
  • Avoid sitting in lounging position or chair
  • Don’t worry about frequent urination due to drinking plenty of fluids. It only gives you extra chance to change your position and move around.
  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach
  • Minimise heavy lifting, climbing or carrying.
  • Avoid bending from waist. Only bend your knees while lifting
  • Avoid twisting your body while lifting
  • Do not wear high heels. The arches of your feet should be supported with low-heeled (but not flat) shoes to prevent stress on your back

posture for pregnancy

How should you sit in bed while pregnant?

  • While sitting – use a small cushion to provide the extra support to the arch of your lower back; if needed.
  • Take care that the back is straight and well supported.
  • Keep your hips and knees at a right angle when sitting. Your feet should be flat on the floor. You may use a low stool to support the feet. (See this video to understand good posture for sitting: Good posture)
  • While sitting, point your feet in the same direction, with weight balanced evenly on both feet
  • Avoid slouched sitting – even though it may feel comfortable for a while but consistent slouching can stress the already sensitised muscles during pregnancy & increase the risk of aches & pains.
  • While sitting, take care that the back is straight and well supported with knees bent & touching the floor. You may use a low stool to support the feet.

Is it ok to wear a seat belt in car when pregnant?

using seat belt during Pregnancy

Just because you are pregnant; do not avoid the use of shoulder and the lap belt. Your safety matters all the more. Use the shoulder as well as the lap belt.

  • Wear the lap belt under your belly closer to the hips.
  • Shoulder belt must be placed between the breasts.
  • In case you are driving, support the curve of the spine with a small cushion, pull the driving seat close to the steering wheel.
  • Make sure your belly is around 10 inches away from the steering.

 

What is the best sleeping position when pregnant?

If you are pregnant, it is best to sleep on your left side with knees slightly bent with a pillow between your knees, unless suggested otherwise by your doctor.

Pregnancy sleeping position

Is it ok to lift something heavy during pregnancy?

  • Try and avoid heavy weight if you are heavily pregnant. If you have to, then use both your hands to lift a weight.
  • Even when you're lifting something light, proper form can spare your back. Bend at your knees, not your waist. Keep the load close to your body, lifting with your legs — not your back.

What care should be taken while standing when pregnant?

  • Avoid standing for longer duration.
  • Keep changing the posture intermittently.
  • When you need to stand longer, keep the feet separated & do not lock your knees.
  • You can keep one foot on a small stool in case of long duration standing. This will take off the load/strain built up on your back due to long duration standing.

Pregnancy posture

How does pregnancy affect posture?

Our Prenatal physiotherapists very often get asked this question. Afterall, how is pregnancy changing the normal body biomechanics.

Pregnancy changes your posture from being straight to arching your back with an added support from your hand to your back. These changes occur to accommodate your growing baby & manage your centre of gravity for better stability.

When a woman is pregnant, her pelvis begins to tip backwards as the baby develops, to balance the forward weight of the expanding uterus. As the pubic and tailbones move backward, the arch in the lower back increases. As the lower back arch increases, so does the curve in the upper back or thorax.

The shoulders and head move forward and the chest collapses to balance the changing weight. All these changes can increase stress on the spine, exaggerating its natural S shape. Other muscles and ligaments can also get strained.

What are the common aches and pains arising due to posture changes during pregnancy?

Common discomforts/aches & pains experienced in pregnancy due to postural changes are briefed below:

These changes ultimately lead to serious back pains, neck pains & at times pelvic pains due to increased strain & muscular imbalances due to the changing postures.

  1. Forward head posture -
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Pain between shoulder blades
  • Nerve irritation in arms/hands
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  1. Forward tilting of pelvis -
  • Low back pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • SPD/PGP
  1. Increased lower back curve -
  • Low back pain
  • Nerve irritation in the legs (sciatica)
  1. Upper back/thoracic changes -
  • Rib pain
  • Difficulty in breathing due to reduced lung capacity

Pregnancy aches and pains

Expecting moms who have participated in FabMoms, a Prenatal Exercise Program have often reported lesser pregnancy related pains.

Related Articles:

Benefits of exercise during Pregnancy

Posture in Pregnancy: Do's & Don'ts

Happy & Fit Pregnancy; Back to Shape afterwards

SI Pain & Pregnancy Tips

This article is contributed by Dr Anuradha M. (PT), who is a Certified Childbirth educator (USA). Dr Anuradha is immensely popular among her women clients for her practical approach to prenatal and postnatal care, accurate diagnosis and treatment for women’s issues.

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