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Good Posture During Pregnancy

Good posture (the position in which you hold your body while standing, sitting, or lying down) 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. Although your growing belly may make you feel like you are going to topple, there are several steps you can take to maintain good posture and proper body mechanics. Here are some tips.

What Is the Correct Way to Stand During Pregnancy?

  • Hold your head up straight with your chin in. Do not tilt your head forward, backward, down or sideways.
  • Make sure your ear lobes are in line with the middle of your shoulders.
  • Keep your shoulder blades back and your chest forward.
  • Keep your knees straight, but not locked.
  • Stretch the top of your head toward the ceiling.
  • Pull your stomach in and up (as much as possible!). Do not tilt your pelvis forward or backward. Keep your buttocks tucked in.
  • Point your feet in the same direction, with your weight balanced evenly on both feet. The arches of your feet should be supported with low-heeled (but not flat) shoes to prevent stress on your back.
  • Avoid standing in the same position for a long time.
  • If you need to stand for long periods in front of a table, adjust the height of the table to a comfortable level if possible. Try to elevate one foot by resting it on a stool or box. After several minutes, switch your foot position.
  • While working in the kitchen, open the cabinet under the sink and rest one foot on the inside of the cabinet. Change feet every five to 15 minutes.

What Is the Correct Way to Sit During Pregnancy?

  • Sit up with your back straight and your shoulders back. Your buttocks should touch the back of your chair.
  • Sit with a back support (such as a small, rolled-up towel or a lumbar roll) at the curve of your back. Pregnancy pillows are sold at many retailers.

Here's how to find a good sitting position when you're not using a back support or lumbar roll:

  • 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). This is a good sitting posture.
  • Distribute your body weight evenly on both hips.
  • Keep your hips and knees at a right angle (use a foot rest or stool if necessary). Your legs should not be crossed and your feet should be flat on the floor.
  • Try to avoid sitting in the same position for more than 30 minutes.
  • At work, adjust your chair height and workstation so you can sit up close to your desk. Rest your elbows and arms on your chair or desk, keeping your shoulders relaxed.
  • When sitting in a chair that rolls and pivots, don't twist at the waist while sitting. Instead, turn your whole body.
  • When standing up from the sitting position, move to the front of the seat of your chair. Stand up by straightening your legs. Avoid bending forward at your waist. Upon standing, do several pregnancy-safe back stretches.

It is OK to assume other sitting positions for short periods of time, but most of your sitting time should be spent as described above so there is minimal stress on your back. If you have back pain, sit as little as possible, and only for short periods of time (10 to 15 minutes).

WebMD Medical Reference

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