It’s usual to sit more and rest with your legs elevated during pregnancy as you slow down and baby changes the way you stand and move. However, the way you sit, work and stand during pregnancy (and postpartum) affects your trunk and core muscles and even baby’s in-utero position.
Let’s start with your body
- Adopt a tall posture by lengthening up through the crown of your head to keep the pelvic floor and core muscles active to support baby, pelvis and spine. This posture firms the postural muscles to reduce wear and tear on your joints.
- Grow tall through your crown to keep the inward curve in your low back. Slumping causes the tummy to protrude further forwards and the shoulders move backwards to rebalance the body. In effect, the spine is concertina-ed down shorter, causing backache.
- Sitting tall gives baby room to move around. Continually slumping in a lounge chair with the spine in a ‘C curve’ position, pushes baby into a posterior lying position (their spine faces your back).
- Optimal baby position for labour occurs when baby’s spine is under your abdomen and their head faces your spine.
To encourage optimal baby positioning prior to labour
- Sit tall in a straight-backed chair or on a birth ball. Stand and move regularly.
- Crossing your legs scrunches the front of the abdomen, making less room for baby to move.
- Uncross legs and keep both feet on the floor with knees apart to prevent low back strain and pressure on leg veins.
- Spend 5 minutes most days (after 28 weeks) kneeling on hands and knees or slowly crawling in this position on the carpet.
- Swimming puts you into the belly down position where baby has more freedom to move around and move into the optimal position before birth.
- During the last 8 weeks of pregnancy, sit on a low padded stool for 10 minutes with knees apart and a tall spine (to stretch pelvic muscles and joints).
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