Rest Smart suggestions for pregnancy. These postures can also be used in pregnancy and labor. Think of your belly as a hammock and let the baby lie with his or her back settling into the hammock. Don’t “tuck your tail.” Pass the flashlight test.
Jean Sutton, co-author of “Understanding and Teaching Optimal Foetal Positioning,” recommends we sit with our:
- Knees lower than the level of our hips
- Belly lower than our hips
- Let our belly be a hammock for our baby.
- Let our lower back sway forward as we stand and walk
When using an exercise ball make sure your hips are not lower than your knees!
Keep an upright back by sitting on the front of your sitz bones, not back on your sacrum.
Many women may need more than keeping good posture in pregnancy.
“Rest Smart” in positions that let your baby’s back settle in your “hammock.”
While in bed or on the couch, always use a pillow between your knees and ankles. This prevents the leg hanging and pulling gently on the hips creating torsion (a twist) in the pelvic floor and hip joints. Supported ankles may help prevent a loss of balance in the pelvis, but aren’t enough to restore balance.
Make a little pillow nest to lay nearly on your tummy. Pillows hold your weight off the baby. Use your breastfeeding pillow, curve your body pillow, or semi-inflate a swim doughnut to dip your belly in the “nest.” It’s so comfy.
Sometimes you may want to just lay on either side. One hip is directly over the other, like a right angle. Don’t lean back, at least not for long. Leaning back without support can give you a muscle cramp. Change sides frequently for comfort and to help the uterus be a little more symmetrical.
See a photo and a drawing of two resting positions with the mom on her left side, in the photo, her back is at a “right angle” to the mattress, on the drawing she is in “Left Lean-over” and her belly is a bit towards the mattress on one side. Pillows under chest and pelvis and knee help the angle. Whoops, there is no pillow under the ankle! Add one.
If this little light whom you bring to Earth could be seen shining through the thin skin of your navel area, that beam of light would aim down or straight. Don’t direct your beam of light upwards when you are resting. Lying on your back for a short exercise or an exam is usually fine for a few minutes.
Which side should I sleep on?
Going to sleep and/or waking on your left side seems to protect the wellbeing of baby. You have little control of which side you wake up on. You can learn to go to sleep on your left side. Then you will have met the “and/or” going to sleep or waking on your left that was found to protect against unexplained still birth (in a New Zealand study).
If your care provider asks you to avoid a position, ask them why. It may be that monitoring of the baby’s heartbeat or your blood pressure shows that a particular position is not good for you at that time.
Changing positions may be good for the baby in general. Getting up to go to the bathroom one or more times a night seems to be protective of baby’s wellbeing, as noticed by the same New Zealand researchers mentioned in the study above.
Another study verifies the benefit of sleeping on one’s left side, and the disadvantages of sleeping on one’s back. The weight of the womb in mid and late pregnancy can reduce blood flow that is now known to affect baby’s wellbeing.
Sit on a Swedish chair or exercise ball for a straight back. Let the abdomen become the hammock for the baby. Elbows and knees are at a 45-degree angle and wrists float above the keyboard. A ball helps your hip keep moving. Get up and move around frequently.
In the car
If you are sitting in a car, please do not sit up on a cushion. That would be dangerous if you were to need to stop suddenly. You can sit on a small physiology ball, such as a slo-mo ball in which only ONE PUFF of air is in the ball and then the plug is replaced. Put it between your tuberosities so that your tuberosities touch the car seat but the ball is between them. Now you have dynamic motion for the car. You will have less pain.
When you get in and out of the car, keep your knees and ankles CLOSE together. Swivel your hips to get your feet in and out of the car together. This will help prevent SI joint pain.
Squat on the pot!
Work on your posture on the pot! Use a sturdy stool in a “U” shape around your toilet or buy a Squatty Potty® or similar product. You could even import the type of “toilet” used in Okinawa, Japan, old France, and other places where you put one foot on either side of a plumbed, porcelain trough and go.
If you become a distributor of such a porcelain trough, please reach out to me at this website – I’ll advertise !!
Want more comfort in pregnancy? Find our Comfort Tips here.