Dear moms to be, your slouching position can affect your foetus

An expectant mother’s every move can impact her unborn child. So make sure to adopt correct posture during pregnancy to avoid problems.
Healthy habits in pregnancy
Keep your diet and exercise in check for a healthy pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Shazia Shadab Published: 23 Jun 2022, 12:17 pm IST
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The way you sit, stand and use your body can affect the position of your baby in the uterus during pregnancy. While it isn’t much of a problem during early pregnancy, in the later trimesters, it can affect the position of the baby as it moves into the pelvis, prior to labour start. So, when an expectant mother regularly sits in a slouching type of position with her pelvis rolled backwards, it can encourage the baby to enter the pelvis in a posterior position on their back. This is called the occipito-posterior (OP) position. Let’s know the importance of posture during pregnancy.

What does occipito-posterior (OP) position mean?

It means the baby is facing head down, but their face is positioned towards the mother’s stomach instead of the back. In this position, the baby’s spine is extended, not curled. The top of the head enters or tries to enter the pelvis first. A posterior head circumference measures larger than the anterior head circumference.

Moreover, the baby’s head is more likely to get wedged against the pubic bone. This leads to a longer and painful labour as there is pressure placed on the spine and sacrum.

You need to take care of yourself during pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

To avoid all these problems, maintain proper posture during pregnancy as it will ensure maximum amount of room available in the uterus, so the baby can turn into the correct position on his or her own.

Also, read: Light exposure on mother’s belly may be important for the foetus: Study

Guidelines to maintain a proper posture during pregnancy

During sitting:

  1. Make sure that your shoulders are pulled back and neutral when sitting down. Do so while keeping your back straight. You should squeeze your buttocks with the backrest of the chair.
  2. Position both your feet on the floor evenly. Your hips and knees alignment should form a 90-degree angle while keeping your pelvis slightly leaning forward.
  3. Your ears should be in alignment with your shoulders and hips. Imagine a straight line running from the ears, shoulders, elbows, and hips. This is considered a neutral posture.
  4. Sit on a firm and comfortable ergonomic office chair, preferably with good lumbar support and proper back tension. This will support your body weight and give you better comfort.
  5. Take a break regularly if you are sitting for long periods of time. It’s important to stand up and move around. Remember to walk or do simple stretches for a few minutes for every 30 minutes you work.
  6. Adjust your office chair height to ensure that you are at level with your desk. Sit close to your table to achieve a neutral position of your neck, shoulders, arms, and elbows. This will help you relax and become less fatigued.
  7. Using a balance ball during the last trimester of your pregnancy can work wonders for you, if you buy one with the proper height. A balance ball may help in the right positioning of the baby and may aid in preparing your pelvis for labour.

During standing:

  1. Stand straight with your chin level to the ground.
  2. Allow your shoulders to drop naturally. If you are standing up straight with your chin in the proper position, your shoulders will drop and align naturally.
  3. Pull your butt. Your COG should be over your hips.
  4. Position your feet properly. Put your feet shoulder width apart and spread your weight evenly over your feet.
pregnancy positions
Do not slouch as it is important for your well-being and your baby’s health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

To promote the anterior position of the baby, these positions are helpful during labour:

Knee to chest, as it uses gravity to encourage the correct birthing position

  1. Get down on your knees on the floor or bed and rest your forearms on the ground. Stick your butt into the air and tuck your chin. This will allow the lower part of the uterus to expand
  2. Do all the positions for 5 to 15 minutes, twice a day. Try to it on a empty stomach
  3. If you can feel the baby position, you can do the turning position along. While leaning on one elbow, use the opposite hand to exert gentle upward pressure on the baby’s rear end, which is located just above the pubic bone.

Forward leaning inversion: Similar to knee to chest but more extreme

  1. Start in the knee to chest position on your bed or couch place your palms on the floor, tuck your chin, this helps to relax your pelvic muscles
  2. Be careful to not slip your hands, get support from the therapist for your shoulder throughout the exercise.
  3. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds. Repeat the exercise 3-4 times a day.

A proper posture ensures a child’s proper health.

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About the Author

Shazia Shadab is the HOD of physiotherapy Department at Cloudnine Group of Hospitals. She is a physiotherapist with an experience for 10 years. She received her Bachelor degree of physiotherapy from Rajiv Gandhi University. She is an expert in pregnancy-related musculoskeletal issues where she treats advanced therapies (antenatal or postnatal), problem associated with pregnancy and/or childbirth, gynaecological problem and post-partum problem. ...Read More

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