In the West, we have largely let go of the natural postures of man. Squatting, kneeling, sitting close to the floor… We have invented more comfortable ways of sitting that are far from how primitive man would spend most of his day.
Sitting with your knees in a 90 degree angle, reclining… these are all things unknown in traditional societies.
While these postures may be more comfortable, and certainly less taxing on our muscles, they are also unhealthy.
Specifically for pregnant mothers sitting, reclining and lying in sofas is counterproductive for a good positioning of your baby.
Obviously, in first trimester and even throughout your pregnancy, you may be feeling a little overrun and need extra rest. That's ok.
Here is a series of things you can do to optimise your posture and thus your baby's positioning (it is also said that correct posture can prevent placenta preavia).
Sit on a birthing ball. This changes the angle of your knees, cradles your belly between your legs, slightly stretches the hip and is a dynamic pose versus the static position you would adopt on a chair. You don't need to invest in an expensive birthing ball. Nowadays, you can get an exercise ball in any self respecting sports shops, for any budget. Just make sure to select one that is sturdy enough to support your weight at the end of your pregnancy.
Walk a lot. Walking is great exercise and entices your baby to adopt the correct position for birth, plus the motion is relaxing for both you and your baby. However, when walking, make sure you adopt a correct posture. if you're waddling, then you're not positioning your back and hips correctly. Don't overarch your back and keep your toes pointed more or less forward.
When resting, lie on your left side, either with one knee up or with both knees pulled up together. You can make use of pillows (or a body pillow) if that makes you more comfortable. Imagine your belly as a cradle for your baby. Lying on the left side presents the optimal position for birth to your baby, plus it relieves the weight of your baby from your carotid artery, optimising blood flow throughout your body.
Make squatting part of your daily routine. When going to the bathroom, get a little step to put your feet up, this will facilitate your transit and reduce the risk of haemorrhoids and constipation. Read how you can make squatting part of your routine in this article. Squatting again cradles the belly and strengthens the muscles of the legs and buttocks, which you will need during birth. It also favours a correct position of the spine, as the angle of the legs prevents overarching.
Move a lot. Do different types of exercise, but only those you like. If you're a runner, continue, if you like to swim, do so. Yoga and pilates are also highly recommended in pregnancy. Even if you're new to yoga, you can start with a couple of simple poses. There are quite a few yoga poses that are interesting to use in labor. I can highly recommend the DVD Pregnancy Health Yoga with Tara Lea.
Adopting a good posture in pregnancy will lower your risk at discomforts like joint pain and back pain and will allow your baby to set into his ideal birthing position.
photo credit: nexus6 via photopin cc