Position Yourself for a More Comfortable Pregnancy

The author of the pregnancy workout book Hot (Sweaty) Mamas reveals four positions to help combat back and pelvic pain - and even lower your risk of a C-Section.

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When you rub your belly you should be rubbing your baby's back. Otherwise your baby is in the posterior position (or "sunny side up"), which means your baby's spine is toward your spine -- positioning that can cause low back pain, pelvic pressure, and aching hips. What's more, a baby in the posterior position at birth is more likely to require a C-Section delivery.

Click to the following slides to learn positions that can help relieve pregnancy aches and pains, and help promote an easier delivery.

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Sit Forward

Sit Forward

When you slouch you're crowding your internal organs and baby even more. You're also allowing gravity to pull the heaviest part of baby (her back) to your lower back, which can compress nerves and cause pain. Instead, sit forward so that the weight of your belly falls toward the floor. You might need to assume a not-so-lady-like position of belly between the knees, but nobody's going to judge you at this point.

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Tailor Sit

Tailor Sit

This is the old-fashioned "criss-cross apple sauce" position you remember from preschool: On the floor with knees out and ankles crossed in front of you. Make sure you're sitting on top of your "sit bones" and your low back is in neutral, that is, it has a slight curve and isn't rounded. Don't tuck in your tailbone. A neutral pelvis allows more space for the uterus and internal organs, according to physical therapist Elizabeth Noble, author of several books, including Essential Exercises for the Childbearing Year. It doesn't matter how far down your knees fall, just let them rest where they are. With knees splayed, you'll help open the hips and lengthen the inner-thigh. If you find the position difficult, sit on something sturdy such as a phone book or block.

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Child's Pose

Child's Pose

Yoga's core relaxation pose is great for pregnant women. Sit on your shins, knees apart, and bring your belly toward the floor between your thighs. You can lengthen your arms in front of you or let them rest at your sides. As your belly grows larger you might need to prop yourself up on your elbows or support yourself with pillows to give baby more room. In this position, gravity can help move or keep baby in the anterior position, which might also relieve your aching back.

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Squatting

Squatting

This "super position" puts your pelvis in the ideal position to birth a baby and it can help strengthen and lengthen the hamstring and gluteus muscles that help your pelvic floor hold up your internal organs and your growing baby. Strong gluteus muscles also help prevent low back pain.

To squat correctly, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, back straight, and bend your knees. Lower yourself into a sitting position without actually sitting on anything. Go only as far down as you can while still keeping your back straight. If you're uncomfortable place a rolled up towel or mat under your heels.

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