An important part of having a healthy pregnancy is maintaining good posture. During pregnancy, your body produces special hormones that lead to physical changes in almost every part of your body. One of those changes can affect the ligaments that hold your bones together which can cause loosening of your joints and lead to pain. Postural changes which occur during pregnancy can have an effect on many areas of your body but a common complaint is low back and pelvic pain. As your baby grows and your uterus expands, your low back will typically get a more pronounced curve as your center of gravity is shifted forward. This can also cause a ripple effect of changes all the way up the spine. To compensate for postural changes some of your muscles must work harder to support the body in the upright position and over time they can become shortened and less flexible. Other muscle groups have to work less than they normally do and over time they can become weak. Your abdominal muscles can become stretched as the baby grows which causes them to be less able to contract and keep your back in good alignment.
There are some things you can do to help maintain a better posture and protect your back throughout your pregnancy:
*Always try to stand up straight by imagining that someone is making you taller by pulling a string attached to your head.
*Tuck your pelvis under so that your ears, shoulders and hips are in a straight line.
*Avoid standing in one position for long periods of time. If you do have to stand for a prolonged time, place one foot up on a foot stool to take some pressure off of your back.
*Consider wearing a maternity support belt.
*Make sure your back is well supported in sitting by placing a towel roll or cushion at your low back. If you have to sit for prolonged periods of time, try to get up and walk around every 20 minutes.
*Lying on your side is a good position to take stress off your low back without reducing the blood flow to the placenta and your baby. Place a pillow between your legs to take the strain off your back and a pillow under your abdomen to support the weight of your uterus.
These are just a few of the suggestions for maintaining a better posture throughout pregnancy. More suggestions and information may be addressed in a later blog. If you have additional questions at this time, please talk to your healthcare provider.