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Posture during Pregnancy and useful tips to follow

Updated: Mar 16, 2023

Did you know that almost 90% of pregnant women suffer from backache in the third trimester, and it can continue to the fourth trimester(that is the postpartum period)?

Much of the back pain in pregnancy is related to the strain on your back from the weight of your growing baby, and the increasing body weight. Using correct posture can help prevent and even ease some of the pain. Good posture during pregnancy involves training your body to stand, walk, sit, and lie in positions where the least amount of strain is placed on your back.

This article includes the following -

What happens in poor posture?
  • A wrong posture may not only lead to aches and discomfort but may also cause harm to the baby or lead to injuries. In the final stages of pregnancy, this pain can deepen as hormones start softening the ligaments and tendons in the joints.

  • A poor posture during pregnancy may cause complications and irritated joints even after the delivery. It may adversely affect bodily functions like digestion and breathing as well.

  • If you do not correct your posture during pregnancy, it can cause a lot of discomfort during and after childbirth.

Posture during pregnancy
Posture during pregnancy
Quick tips -
  • Wear comfortable clothing. Do not wear tight clothes.

  • Do not forget your feet! Wear comfortable shoes rather than a good-looking ones. There are many options out there that are comfortable and good-looking. Avoid pointy heels.

  • Do not - carry heavy bags or wear the bag on one side of your shoulder.

  • Avoid sitting, standing, or lying in the same position for a long time.

  • Bring your phone to your eye level. do not bend your neck and look at your phone.

  • Stretch your body and relax. Unconsciously we hold certain muscles, you have to consciously relax your body and muscles.

Tips for correcting posture during pregnancy
Tips for correcting posture during pregnancy

Lying down posture -

  • It’s best to not lie on your back, especially in late pregnancy, when the weight of the heavy uterus can press on the large blood vessels in your belly. It compresses large blood vessels reducing the blood flow towards the heart, hence also towards the womb.

  • Lying on your stomach during pregnancy is not going to be very comfortable. More importantly, lying on your stomach should be avoided because it can put added pressure on the fetus and reduce blood flow.

  • A pillow should be under your head, not your shoulders, and should be a thickness that allows your head to be in a neutral position that helps in not straining the back region. You may also want to put a pillow between your legs to support the weight of your top leg and decrease low back strain.

  • When standing up from the lying position, turn onto your side, draw up both knees and swing your legs to the bed’s side. Sit up by pushing yourself up with your hands. Avoid bending forward at your waist.

Standing posture -

  • First, do not opt to stand for a long time. When you do have to stand, keep your feet slightly apart and don't lock your knees, your feet facing forward. Remember to keep your Pelvis (lower part of the abdomen) tucked in.

  • If you have to stand in one place for a long time, place one foot on a small step stool. This takes some of the weight off your lower back.

  • Hold your head up straight with your chin in. Do not tilt your head forward, backward, down, or sideways.

  • Keep your shoulder blades back and your chest forward. Rotating the shoulder backward and downwards, engage your scapula blades in a neutral position, which would help avoid the rounding of the scapula, thus expanding the chest. This would help in combatting shortness of breath. (Contracting the shoulder blades (scapula) more might be uncomfortable).

Sitting posture -

  • Choose a chair with soft armrests that allow your shoulders to relax and your elbows to be near your body. Be careful with wheelchairs as they may move as you try to sit down or stand up.

  • Sit up with your back straight and your shoulders back. Your buttocks should touch the back of your chair. If there is no back support for your chair then -

    • Sit at the end of your chair and slouch completely. Draw yourself up and accentuate the curve of your back as far as possible. Hold for a few seconds.

    • Release the position slightly (about 10 degrees), distributing your body weight evenly on both hips. This is a good sitting posture.

  • Sit into a chair so that the length of your thighs is supported by the chair.

  • Whenever you need to turn, avoid twisting at the waist. Instead, turn your entire body.

  • Avoid crossing your legs while sitting. It may cause bad circulation, swelling of the ankles, or varicose veins.

  • See to it that the sole of the foot is comfortably placed on the floor. If not, use a stepper/ step stool to place your foot on.

Regularly exercising, and practicing yoga, can improve your posture naturally. It is important to understand which activities are safe during pregnancy.

If you are working and not working from home, here are some additional tips for you. Though most of the pointers mentioned above holds good, there are some key points to consider.

Tips to comfort you while sitting at your workplace
  • When you are sitting for hours together, muscles around your shoulder, pelvic girdle, hips, and lower back can stiffen or cause you pain. One good way to avoid lower body pain is to try to always keep the space on the pelvis open. You can do this by pointing your knees outward whenever possible.

  • To avoid pain around your neck, shoulders, and upper back pain, you have to correct your sitting posture. Keep your chest up and shoulders down. Turn your shoulders backward and downwards and expand your chest a little.

  • When you want to change your sitting position, you can try crossed feet. You can cross your feet under your chair or stretch your legs out and cross your feet in front of you, making sure to face your knees pointing outwards, and also helps keep the space on the pelvis open.

  • Another position is to slide your butt all the way to the end until it touches the chair’s backrest. Lean back and find a relaxing position.

  • Another safe position is to sit on the edge of the chair, allowing you to rest your feet completely on the ground. Make sure to point your knees outwards.

  • Getting up or changing position every 45 mins and moving around from 2-3 mins is recommended.

Tips to comfort you while sitting during pregnancy
Tips to comfort you while sitting during pregnancy
Expert Tips

1. Simple exercises like shoulder rotation, contracting the scapula blade and then relaxing, moving the neck in the right and left direction, then up and down, and walking around would help in releasing strain from the upper back.

2. After coming home from the office, try doing simple back stretches like the cat and cow pose (marjarasana), assisted bridge pose (bridge pose), and assisted camel pose (Ustrasana) to release the tension accumulated in the lower back.

3. In case of pelvic discomfort, always be careful while turning from one side to another on the bed, getting out of a car, or while getting down the stairs. Always keep your knees together while doing these activities and your discomfort will surely reduce.

Make yourself comfortable always!
  • No matter the position, avoid staying in the same position for a long time. Try to alternate your position.

  • Avoid slouching. It strains the lower back. Incorrect posture adds extreme stress to your lower back.

  • Adjust your chair properly. Your feet should rest on the ground completely and firmly.

  • If needed, use back support. Like a cushion, or lumbar support.

  • Leave the space on the pelvis open, and point your knees outwards.

  • Do some stretching to avoid muscle stiffness.

Let us know if you would like to talk to an expert to correct your posture.

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