Connect with your body and give it the support it needs with these easy changes.
Many pregnant women develop drooping, pain-incurring posture as their bellies take the lead. Be aware of the way you stand and sit, and you may be able to prevent end-of-the-day backache. If you are going to be on your feet for hours on end, wear flat shoes with arch support, which will help you keep your balance and maintain an erect carriage. Straighten your spine all the way through the tailbone, and keep those shoulders back.
When your schedule requires sitting for a long period of time, choose a supportive chair or supplement with a lumbar pillow, and again, keep your spine nice and straight. Whether you spend your day standing or sitting, take frequent breaks to shift your position.
Or better yet, don’t pick it up in the first place! Hauling heavy objects, reaching for items on high shelves, and bending and twisting to vacuum or mop are not going to be beneficial activities for preggo ladies. See if you can get some help with these household tasks; if not, be extra cautious and aware of your posture. Bend your knees when you go to grab an object (or toddler) from the floor—bending at the back to lift could cause injury. When you’re cleaning, try to keep your spine straight and aligned, turning with your whole body rather than bending and twisting at the waist.
The core muscles which normally support your spine are shifted and weakened during pregnancy. While series of sit-ups may not be much help (even if you can rally your abs to accomplish the feat), gentle stretches, brisk walks and other full-body exercises can still strengthen your core. When you’re choosing a fitness regime, look for a low-impact program like prenatal yoga or water aerobics. These practices will help you decompress, build your strength, and enjoy a healthier pregnancy and delivery. If you find that any particular exercise or movement causes pain in your back or legs, quit it! Spinal discomfort is not the sign of a good workout.
Give it a rest
Every part of your body will be in better working order when you’re getting plenty of R&R. First, relax sore muscles with a hot pad or soothing massage (schedule with a professional if hubby isn’t quite up to the task). Then get a healthy amount of sleep—plus daily naps if necessary—on your side with pillows to prop you up. A pillow between your knees can ease pelvic discomfort, and an under-belly cushion can support proper nighttime posture when your belly becomes a strain.