Posture, Pregnancy, and Prevention
Pregnancy is an exciting time for expecting mothers. Embrace the excitement by educating yourself of the common changes that occur to the body during pregnancy: physically, mentally, and structurally. As an expecting mother you likely have received a great deal of health advice. In addition to the many lifestyle changes that have been recommended to you and the checkups that have been scheduled to monitor your pregnancy, have you scheduled your postural examination yet?
Proper posture is a vital component of health and wellness during our daily lives. Good postural habits during pregnancy plays an exceptionally important role in preparing the body for labor. Loosened ligaments, heightened emotions, and additional weight of the pregnant body can lead to back pain, poor postural habits, and even injury if you do not learn to correct your posture before it is too late.
To allow adequate growth space for the developing fetus, the mother’s body will naturally compensate by tipping the pelvis backward. This is why you may have noticed a greater lumbar curve in your spine during pregnancy, or that of other expecting mothers. With the accentuated lumbar curve, many expecting mothers experience back pain and fatigue standing for prolonged periods of time.
To avoid developing painful postural habits, it is important to recognize the three most common postural mistakes during pregnancy and make a commitment to prevent them. Your baby and your body will thank you. Proper posture allows the fetus adequate room for development over the nine-month period while decreasing unnecessary stress to the mother’s body.
Prevent These 3 Postural Pregnancy Mistakes:
- Crossing your legs while seated: While seated, it is better for your lower back and hips to avoid crossing your legs. When women cross their legs, it actually causes a misalignment of the pelvis. Prolonged sitting in this position can lead to postural distortion patterns of the spine and low back pain. For comfortable sitting, place both feet on the floor parallel to one another, choose a chair that allows you to sit upright comfortably without slouching, and place a lumbar support (or small pillow) behind your low back to support the natural lumbar curve.
- Sleeping in improper positions: If you have been sleeping on your stomach for many years, it is often difficult to break this habit. However, it is essential. During pregnancy, sleeping on your side with a small pillow between your legs is best. In particular, sleeping on your left side may benefit your baby by improving blood flow and nutrient delivery to the placenta. If you have habitually slept on your back or stomach up to this point, make a smooth transition to proper posture while sleeping by training your body to sleep on your left side early on in the pregnancy. It will eventually become a natural habit.
- Swayback standing posture: We have all seen pregnant mothers standing with their hands on their lower back jutting their abdomen forward in a swayback position. Don’t let that be you! This is a very common postural mistake that is causing many mothers to experience back pain and sciatica. Instead of having an incorrect swayback posture, focus on gently pulling in your abdomen and buttocks, relieving the lumbar spine of stress. It seems natural to compensate for the additional abdominal weight with a swayback posture, however this causes excessive strain to the joints, ligaments, and muscles of your low back.