Bending While Pregnant
The extra weight you carry around during pregnancy puts you at risk of back injury. For this reason, it's important to avoid bending at the waist and in general to maintain good posture. This means approaching some everyday chores in a deliberate, cautious way. Should you experience any debilitating back pain during pregnancy, talk to your health care provider.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, you will likely gain an extra 20 to 30 pounds during pregnancy. The placement of this weight in your uterus drags your center of gravity forwards. Leaning back to compensate puts a strain on your spine. Meanwhile, hormones released during pregnancy weaken your ligaments, making them more prone to damage.
You'll decrease the risk of back strain if you maintain good posture. Your head, neck and back should form a continuous straight line. One way of reminding your body of this is to stand with your back against a wall for a few moments each day. Good posture is just as important whether you are active or at rest, so resist the temptation to slump at the end of an exhausting day.
A pregnant woman is already front-heavy. Bending at the waist throws that extra weight forward, putting an even greater strain on your back, so try to avoid this movement. If you have to bend to perform a task, such as mopping up a spilled drink, toss anything you're going to need, such as a sponge, onto the floor first and then carefully kneel. Bend at the knees, then lower one knee at a time to the floor. It's equally as important to avoid bending at the waist when you get up. Rise in stages, using your hands, knees and thighs rather than the muscles in your stomach and abdomen.
Avoid bending at the waist when lifting something from the floor. Bend at the knees instead, keeping your upper body posture as your lower yourself down to within reaching distance. If possible, hold the item under your baby bulge when your lift, so that it falls into alignment with your center of gravity. Push upward with your lower body, in particular your knees and the arches of your feet.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Pregnancy Guide
- "Conception, Pregancy and Birth"; Dr. Miriam Stoppard; 2000
- John Lund/Paula Zacharias/Blend Images/Getty Images