Getting a positive result on a pregnancy test is the beginning of an exciting journey. Growing a new life is an amazing experience that can only be understood by those that have gone through it. With a new life growing, there are so many wonderful experiences that a mom to be will go through, however, there are also those "not so glamorous experiences."
With a growing baby bump comes big changes, along with weight gain, morning sickness, and mood swings. With ligaments loosening quite substantially to get ready for baby, this can also bring on a range of aches and pains. It is inevitable that many people suffer from bad posture and as a baby grows, a pregnant woman’s posture could become much worse. However, there are ways to counter these problems and help make pregnancy more enjoyable. During this time it is vital that a pregnant woman practices good posture, and she needs to consider things which may be of surprise to many.
Below are 20 of the most important postures to consider when pregnant and why other postures should be avoided during this time. Alleviating certain pregnancy symptoms can make pregnancy a comfortable and enjoyable experience without too many aches and pains.
20 Sleeping: SOS Style
In this instance SOS isn’t a call for help, instead, it stands for "sleep on side." After your first trimester, it is advised that sleeping on your side is the best position. When choosing a side, the left is best. Lying on your left will increase blood flow and nutrients that will reach the placenta and your baby better than if you were sleeping on your right.
According to americanpregnancy.org, lying on your back can put pressure on major blood vessels which sends blood supply to your baby. The pressure can prevent the needed supply that your baby needs which can be quite harmful to your baby.
19 Sleeping: Pillow Talk
Although it is not advisable to lie on your back for a long period of time after the first trimester, sometimes it cannot be avoided. If you do decide to lie on your back you should use a pillow to help support you. According to Sutter Health, "levate your head and place a pillow under your knees, or keep your knees bent in order to tilt your pelvis and flatten your back.’"
Lying elevated on a pillow will help with pregnancy symptoms such as shortness of breath which usually occurs near the end of pregnancy. As stated previously it is best to avoid lying on your back but it definitely may be hard when this is something you were used to before pregnancy.
18 Sitting In The Workplace: Keep Moving
If you work in an office or have a job that you are constantly sitting at a desk, it is important that you keep moving. Many people, including myself, forget about the importance of getting up from your desk and taking a little break. It is so easy to fall into the trap of sitting for hours without taking a break, so set your timer to remind you to get up and get moving.
Whether it is walking around the office for a few minutes or taking a trip to the bathroom, this will help circulation and avoid swelling to an expectant mother’s legs. Not to mention, it is a great way to take a break from the computer screen and help you refocus.
17 Sitting In The Workplace: Correct Height Level
Whether you are sitting at a desk for an hour or for a whole day, your desk chair should always be in the correct position to avoid slouching and poor posture. Ensure that your chair is level with your table and ensure you sit close with your elbows positioned on the table or chair. This will help relax your shoulders and prevent discomfort and pressure on your neck and shoulders.
There is nothing worse than having extra aches and pains that can easily be avoided if the correct actions are taken. Your body will definitely thank you for making these simple changes to your desk chair.
16 Sleeping: Changing Positions
Sleeping can get quite uncomfortable especially when your baby bump begins to grow. If you are used to sleeping on your back or your stomach, these positions are not advisable later on during pregnancy. Lying on your side, especially your left, will not only help you get the best blood supply to your baby but it will also help with other pregnancy symptoms including, heartburn and insomnia. Lying on your side has also been known to help prevent back pain and lower high blood pressure.
However, whilst sleeping, many people do change positions. If you do find yourself lying on your back when you wake up, don’t be alarmed. It is absolutely ok to change positions while you sleep.
15 Lying On Your Side: Comfort Tips
If you are used to lying on your back and stomach, it can be hard to get used to lying on your side. With this position helping get the best blood supply and nutrients to your baby, it is important to take more care when pregnant, especially when you are going to sleep.
It can be difficult to lie on your side, especially later during pregnancy, however, this is the time that your pillow will be your best friend. Whilst lying on your side, place a pillow in between your legs to support the weight of your top leg. This will not only make this position more comfortable but it will also decrease back strain. Many women (including myself) opt to purchase a pregnancy pillow. I found this to be one of my best purchases I made during my pregnancy.
14 Sitting Evenly
Many people don’t take into consideration their posture when they are sitting down. Unconsciously we sit in a position that feels comfortable, however, is not necessarily good for our posture which can result in short-term and/or long-term issues. With so much pressure put on a pregnant woman’s back, it is important to take care of how one sits down. On a couch it can be easy to slouch or cross your legs, however, these postures should be avoided as much as possible.
Whether you are sitting on the couch watching television, or sitting on a dining room chair about to have dinner, it is advised to keep your back straight with your ears directly in line with shoulders. Also ensure that your knees and hips being 90 degrees, as this is the best posture to keep your neck, back and shoulder pain to a minimum.
13 Step Stools
Whilst pregnant, I would definitely consider investing in a step stool if you do not have one already. You will be surprised at how beneficial a simple stool will be during this time. If you are standing for a long period of time, whether it be doing the ironing or cooking dinner, your step stool will help avoid swelling ankles and help prevent poor circulation. By placing one foot on the stool, then switching to the other can help avoid these pregnancy issues that women do not want to have.
Besides being a great tool when you are standing for long periods of time, it is also a great household item. Your stool will help you reach high cupboards and prevent you from stretching which should also be avoided during pregnancy.
12 Sitting: Footstools Are Your Friend
As mentioned previously, step stools are a great pregnancy item when you are standing for long periods of time, however, step stools and footstools are also great tools when you are sitting down. Not only does it take pressure off your back, but it also helps alleviate swollen ankles and feet which is common drawing near to your due date and not to mention during the warmer months.
Taking the pressure off by putting your feet up is a great thing to do especially before your new bundle of joy arrives. There is nothing like taking time for yourself and helping reduce the pressure off your back and reduce the swelling in your legs, feet, and ankles.
11 Gradual Movements
As creatures of habit, many of us are always on the go. With life moving quickly, pregnancy is a time to take it a little slower. With many quick movements a lot easier to do prior to pregnancy, it is advised to avoid this during pregnancy, especially after the first trimester as big changes occur to your body during this time.
During pregnancy, your ligaments loosen dramatically and a pregnant woman is more likely to injure themselves or cause strain on their body. This can easily be avoided by avoiding any jerky movements. Along with this, take your time and bend gently when you are trying to sit after standing for a long period of time.
Body alignment is compromised during pregnancy thanks to the extra weight gain and pressure of your baby on different nerves and ligaments. With ligaments becoming softer, it is more difficult for your body to hold the correct posture, hence it is vital to take more care during this time. To help alleviate any back pain and muscle soreness, always think about your posture when standing.
Do this by straightening your upper back which will help align your ears, shoulders, and hips. Being conscious of this position will be extremely beneficial during this time. You will be surprised how much better you will feel when keeping good posture whilst standing.
9 Be Aware of Your Shoulder Blades
During pregnancy, you should always be aware of your posture. Being conscious of how we stand and sit will help with all the changes that occur to your body during pregnancy. With your center of gravity changing and extra pounds gained thanks to the growing baby in your womb, it is harder to keep the right posture.
If your shoulders are in the correct position, you will have no problems holding the correct posture. It is so easy for your shoulders to crouch forward which can then result in neck, back, and shoulder pain. To avoid this, ensure your shoulder blades are back and your chest is forward. However, ensure that they are not too far back as this can also strain your lower back. This little tip can make all the difference and help avoid the little aches and pains that can occur during this time.
8 Avoid Standing Too Long In One Position
Unfortunately, some women have demanding jobs which entail standing for long periods of time. For many other pregnant women, this occurs due to the lifestyle they live and cannot be avoided. Standing in one position for too long can cause lower back pain, varicose veins and can affect blood circulation.
Having a good pair of shoes with good arch support should definitely be considered if you cannot avoid standing for long periods of time. Having a good posture will also help alleviate any pains. According to Mom Junction, "Pulling in your buttocks during pregnancy helps to correct your pelvic posture." However, when possible, take frequent breaks and move around instead of standing in one spot.
7 Turning: Avoid Twisting At The Waist
The body goes through many changes during pregnancy, and certain activities should be taken seriously especially when it comes to turning and twisting. Always turn your entire body when you have to twist. This will help avoid any muscle and ligament strains as your muscles and ligaments loosen up dramatically especially during the end of pregnancy to get ready for childbirth. It is also important to take care when bending forward.
Not only does this put pressure on the abdomen, but it can also lead to heartburn, cause dizziness and increase the risk of falling according to momjunction.com. Be aware of your movements and exercise extra caution during this time. Your body will thank you for it!
6 Lifting Objects
Lifting objects should be avoided during pregnancy as there are many risks when it comes to lifting objects that are too heavy. According to the American Pregnancy Association, "for some women, lifting heavy objects can lead to an increased risk of premature labor and low birth weight."
Lifting an item incorrectly can also lead to simple muscle strain or could be as worse as a hernia. There are many safe lifting techniques that should be practiced including bending with your knees and pushing with your legs. It is important to avoid sudden movements when lifting, but the best option is to leave the lifting to someone else.
5 Avoid Slouching
This may feel good, however, it is not a good position whether you are pregnant or not. According to First Cry Parenting, good posture will not only help "ease the tension in your back, shoulders, neck, and hips, a good posture will also aid the baby to establish himself into proper birthing position."
Having good posture will also help with everyday bodily functions including digestion and breathing well, which can be compromised during pregnancy. Good posture and standing straight can be practiced upright against a wall which will help train your body. Slouching is something many people do and everyone should be conscious of this as a healthy posture equals a healthy lifestyle.
4 Sitting: Always Have Back Support
Slouching not only occurs when you are standing, it can happen when you are also sitting down. Sitting with your back straight and your shoulders back is a must. Ensure that your buttocks meets the back of your chair and place a pillow or small rolled up towel at the curve of your back.
This will help give your lower back support and ensure that you are sitting with the best posture possible. Footstools are a great item to use when sitting, however, there are times you may not have one available, especially if you are out. Always be conscious of your posture while sitting as this will help prevent any further aches and pains.
3 Getting Out of Bed
Many people do not realize how much we use our core in everyday activities, especially when getting out of bed. When standing up from a lying position, it is important not to rush and take your time. Along with this, the best way to get up is to roll onto your side and use your arms to push up from the bed. Hence, always try to avoid bending forward with your waist as this activates your abdominals.
According to kidspot.com.au abdominal separation occurs to two-thirds of pregnancies which can result in a hernia if care is not taken. Putting less pressure on your abdominals can help avoid this thanks to a few simple changes in your everyday life.
2 Avoid Crossing Your Legs
For many women crossing your legs is a natural habit, however, whilst pregnant it is advisable to avoid crossing your legs while sitting. According to the American Pregnancy Association, crossing your legs can cause varicose veins during pregnancy. This position can also cause poor circulation and promotes swelling to your ankles. These issues can easily be avoided if you are consciously aware of not crossing your legs when sitting.
Something extremely simple can be difficult to remember as we are all creatures of habit, however, this will help you avoid pregnancy side effects that can be extremely painful and uncomfortable.
1 Consider A Maternity Support Belt
Also known as ‘belly bands’, these belts are designed to help support the lower back and abdomen especially during the second and third trimester. These make for great support if you live an active lifestyle and do a lot of moving in your everyday life. There are so many wonderful reasons why you should invest in one of these support belts as they help decrease pain such as lower back pain, joint pain, and ligament pain.
Not to mention, they are also great to help with posture. Helping to support the lower back, it encourages correct posture which should always be practiced during pregnancy. With so many positive benefits, it is a great item to have during pregnancy and also after pregnancy too!