Importance of Proper Posture
Aside from looking bad, an improper posture can lead to pain and other negative long term effects on your body. Maintaining a proper posture while standing, walking, or sitting is very important for the health of your bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles. Maintaining a proper posture during pregnancy can help avoid common aches and pains, as well as keep the mother and baby more comfortable. Proper Posture helps keep bones, joints, and ligaments aligned so that the muscles are able to work properly, and to avoid misuse, which can lead to pain. Maintaining a proper posture prevents fatigue, strain, overuse, and muscular pain.
During pregnancy, a woman’s posture changes due to different factors:
-Growing belly shifts weight forward and alters center of gravity
-This may cause undercorrection or overcorrection of posture
-Hormones cause joints and ligaments to loosen
-This may cause incorrect posture due to end range changes
-Women may adapt different postures to offset pressure on other joints
-Various aches and pains alter how a woman stands and walks
-Depending on where the pain is, women may adapt pain avoidance postures
Expand for visuals and Posture Correction
Proper Standing Posture:
-Cervical spine has a slight inward curvature with slight chin tuck
-Shoulders should be back and aligned
-Thoracic spine has a slight outward curvature
-Abdominal muscles, pelvic muscles and glutes should be activated to keep back straight
-Lumbar spine should have a slight inward curvature
-Maintain a neutral spine with a slight pelvic tilt to avoid lower back swaying forward
-Keep knees slightly bent and soft
Proper Sitting Posture:
-Sit with back straight and shoulders back; avoid slouching
-3 spinal curves should be present while sitting (cervical, thoracic, lumbar)
-Find neutral spine through proper pelvic tilt
-Weight evenly distributed between both hips
-Feet flat on floor
*If you are having problems with your posture, seeing a physical therapist for an evaluation can be very helpful. A physical therapist may help you find the cause of your incorrect posture, which will make correcting the posture more efficient. A physical therapist with provide you with the proper tools, skills, and exercises that can help strengthen your body, maintain a proper posture, and avoid aches and pains.
*Wearing a Maternity Belt or Belly Band can help cue you to maintain a proper posture. Wearing a belly band does not replace the need to exercise or to actively find your correct posture, but it will help you keep your core muscles engaged in order to maintain a proper posture once you have attained it.
Elina Skripochnik PT, DPT, CSCS
Elina is a Physical Therapist with experience in women's health and pediatrics. She aims to educate women on the importance of becoming and staying active during pregnancy, as well as to provide safe and easy exercises that can be done throughout pregnancy and beyond.