Women undergo gradual changes in their bodies during pregnancy owing to the vacillating hormone levels. After all, you are growing a tiny human inside you. There is bound to be weight gain and associated strain on the various muscles on the back and legs during this period. The third trimester of pregnancy is clearly linked with postural changes in the bodies of the expecting mothers (1). Continuing with a faulty posture can cause negative impacts, like pain and soreness and further deterioration of muscle structures. As such, it’s important that you keep a watch on your postures as you approach the day of childbirth.
Maintaining the correct posture during pregnancy is something that you need to consider seriously. Ignoring the good postures will often result in the manifestation of body aches and discomfort as side effects. If you keep continuing with such wrong postures for a long time, problems might occur even after pregnancy. So, let’s get started on some of the good postures to maintain during pregnancy that benefits you as well as your baby during pregnancy:
1. Hold Your Head Up While Standing
It’s essential to maintain the proper posture while standing, as this will also set the tone for the way you walk and move around. It’s a normal tendency during pregnancy to slouch forward or lift your belly in such a way that the pressure gets concentrated on the lower back. In the long term, it could prove problematic to your back muscles, and better that you avoid doing it. The right way would be to stand with your body extended vertically, with your head held high and chin tucked in. Also, pay attention to your shoulders. If you are slouching your shoulders forward a bit too much, try to open them up, move them back while taking a deep extended breath. It might feel restricting and uncomfortable in the beginning but as your body slowly gets habituated to this posture, you will start seeing visible improvements in your posture.
Next is your stomach— make a conscious effort to pull it towards you, slightly lifted upwards. Correct standing inculcates many improvements in our body but we will have to be careful in not over-exerting ourselves. Standing over extended periods can be exhausting for would-be mothers. Give yourself plenty of rest which includes sitting and lying down, instead of continuing to stand.
2. Provide Support To Your Feet And Legs
Pregnancy is accompanied by weight gain. And it’s your feet, ankles, and muscles in the lower half of the body that bears this additional weight. This can result in swelling of the ankles and feet, which is also referred to as feet edema. Edema can be painful and uncomfortable and result in other related problems. As such, take good care of your feet during pregnancy especially in the later months when the weight gain is the highest. While sitting, utilize a stool or ottoman to provide a cushion to your tired feet. While doing household chores, like washing dishes or doing laundry, use a counter or stool to rest your feet. Foot massages and stretching exercises also provide good relief from this condition (2).
3. Sleep On Your Side
Considering the toll that pregnancy can take on you, you might be tempted to sleep as much as you can, round the clock. However, soon you’ll realize that even when you’re craving some good sleep, it is uncomfortable and your sleep gets interrupted at some point. This is especially true in the last weeks of pregnancy. One workaround in this situation is to try sleeping on your side instead of your back. As you sleep on your side, you feel less brunt of the additional weight of the baby on your body. To attain the perfect sleeping position you can place a pillow between your legs, and utilize additional pillows to get the required support. Pregnancy pillows can be a great option for this. Medical and healthcare providers also recommend sleeping on your left and are of the view that the placenta gets an increased amount of nutrients in a sideways position (3)
4. Use Pillows For Support While Sitting
Seating seems like a good way to rest and relax. However, expecting mothers who spend long sessions sitting can still experience pain in the back regions. This is especially the case when the surface is not so soft or when the sitting position is awkward. Using a pillow can provide some great support and comfort in this situation. A pillow would also let you adjust and change your sitting position from time to time. You can also utilize multiple pillows, one for the upper back and another for the lower back, or other combinations to further improve your rest and comfort. Memory foam materials for pillows are a great option as they retain the shape in which the pressure is applied.
5. Be Mindful Of Your Posture In The Toilet
You may deal with two problems when it comes to using the loo. One, it can be uncomfortable, and two, you may be constipated. Unfortunately, constipation is a common problem that women face when pregnant. This is because of an increase in a specific hormone called progesterone, which helps relax you to an extent. When your muscles are relaxed, particularly in the digestive area, your bowel movements may get affected, leading to constipation (4). Changing your posture slightly when using the toilet can help with this. Use a small stool high enough to keep your feet on so your knees are at a ninety-degree angle. Also, ensure that your back is straight. This can help with both the discomfort that you face as well as your bowel movements.
All these postures won’t just help you; they can also help your baby in the womb. The weight of your growing baby can make you uncomfortable and cause a lot of pain. By maintaining a good and correct posture of your body, you would be able to manage the discomfort better. This would require you to be mindful of the way you sit, stand, sleep and walk around. But stay assured that it’s only a matter of time before these good habits become second nature to you and you start enjoying the health benefits of having correct postures. Do you have any tips regarding the proper posture during pregnancy? If so, share them with us in the comments section below!
- An Analysis Of Posture And Back Pain In The First And Third Trimesters Of Pregnancy
- Risk Factors Related to Lower Limb Edema Compression and Physical Activity During Pregnancy: A Retrospective Study
- Survey of maternal sleep practices in late pregnancy in a multi-ethnic sample in South Auckland New Zealand
- Pregnancy-related Constipation