Everyone, myself included keeps talking about our standing and upright postures and it’s relevance to baby’s position at birth all the time. But today I want to tackle the posture which we assume more than standing… sitting down.
Why does it matter how we sit?
There are two positional issues with seated postures. Your spine and your baby’s position (more important closer to birth after about 36-37 weeks).
If you haven’t taught yourself over the years to carry your upper body weight distributed proportionately across and down your spine then the default position your body will adopt is the “sink all the weight closest to gravity” sort of posture. This means slouching into your lower back and rounding your middle back. Why? Because the closer anything is to the ground the less heavy it gets. That’s why it’s harder to carry anything holding your hands up then letting it dangle by the side of your arms.
In order to not slouch in and give all your weight to your hips, buttocks and thighs, it is important to learn to sit “taller”… creating the lift in the full length of your spine which will allow your weight to distribute across your whole spine.
Why is this way of sitting beneficial?
Spinning babies explain the benefit of sitting upright clearly.
“Sitting upright helps the abdomen be a hammock for the baby and encourages the baby to settle in an anterior position when the mother’s ligaments and fascia are balanced and she hasn’t waited too long. Start before getting pregnant, if you can, but start when you can.”
Sitting upright also means, stopping the weight of your body and your bump sinking into your lower back area making the pain in your back worse as that’s not to most efficient way and place to keep your weight.
Sitting upright allows for better blood flow across your lower abdominal region making sure your uterus is not being deprived of valuable resources. This is especially important if you are sitting for long periods in excess of 60 min or so.
How to learn to sight upright?
Learning to sit without supported back can be very beneficial as on a birthing ball. But if you have bad habits of slouching then that actually makes the birthing ball or bar stool more of a problem rather than a solution.
I recommend starting at the beginning. If you can sit on the floor. Here are some of the most important cues to remember –
1. Think about your tailbone in relation to your body weight. You shouldn’t be sitting on your tailbone giving your whole weight into that area.
2. Think about the relationship of your tailbone to your lower back. If your tailbone is under you, you lower back will slouch away from you creating a “C” shape. But if your tailbone is in the active position, i.e. sort of touching the ground rather than under you then your lower back will tend to curve forwards. This curve will be rather different for different people and also at different time points in your pregnancy. So just follow what feels natural as long as you sit with that forward motion.
3. Then as you inhale, rise up towards the ceiling slowly letting your body weight spread across your whole back, not merely lifting your chest up and dropping your shoulders down.
This spread of your weight across your back will reduce the high pressure area you can create in your lower back by slouching and also reducing the blood supply in the lower abdominal area impacting the blood supply in your uterus.
Here in this video I explain this whole principle and give you simple positional guides that you can feel and access with your own personal experience rather than a textbook way.