The usual suspects
“If there ever was a recipe for back pain, it would be pregnancy,” says Todd Sinett, DC, NYC-based chiropractor and author of 3 Weeks to a Better Back (drsinett.com). Your center of gravity changes, your abdominal muscles stretch, and the hormone relaxin loosens joints and ligaments—all of which contribute to poor postural alignment.
Practice makes perfect
As your body changes, you might have to relearn good posture. Happily, it’s easier than it sounds (and you won’t have to walk around with a book on your head to do it). Figure out what positions place the least amount of strain on your back. “Our bodies need a balance between forward bending and backward bending,” explains Sinett. “During pregnancy a woman’s body is overrun with forward bending, called flexion.”
Keep your shoulder blades back and your chest forward, while elongating your neck. Resist the temptation to tilt your pelvis, and keep your knees straight (but never locked). Balance your weight evenly on both feet, and avoid staying in the same position for too long. If you have to stand for a while, take some pressure off one foot for a minute or two, then switch.
When you reach for a chair, sit straight with your shoulders against the backrest. If possible, have a lumbar roll (a small pillow works, too!) in the curve of your back. Crossing your legs decreases circulation, so keep both feet on the floor. (If it’s a tough habit to break, try crossing your ankles instead.) For moms-to-be who sit at an office all day, make a point to walk around every hour or so—even if it’s just to refill your water bottle.