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Desk Posture

If you sit at a desk all day, maintaining good posture will help prevent back and shoulder tightness and pain. When sitting, keep your back in a normal, slightly arched position. Use a chair that supports your lower back; if your chair doesn't, use a thin pillow or a folded towel for support. Keep your head upright, your chin level, and your shoulders erect and relaxed. (You may notice that when you feel stressed, you unconsciously pull your shoulders up toward your ears.) Rest your arms comfortably at your sides. Place your feet flat on the floor. If you can't reach the floor comfortably, use a footrest. (The best footrest is one that is slightly angled down toward your heels.)

If you use a computer, bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle and keep your wrists straight over the keyboard. The keyboard height should be just below your elbow height, and the monitor should be 18-22 inches from your forehead. The top of the screen should be at eye level.

Pull your chair in as close to your desk as you can manage. (If the chair's armrests get in the way, see if you can remove them -- many office chairs have removable armrests.) If your belly gets in the way, lower your chair slightly. If you're still farther away from your desk or keyboard than you'd like, do the best you can, but take breaks every 20 minutes or so to get up, walk around for a minute, and even do a couple of shoulder and chest stretches.

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

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