At 25 weeks, my bump had not yet “popped.”

As I enter my eighth month of pregnancy, I am happy to report that I follow my own message and have had zero pain — well, except for when I dislocated my pinky toe during my 16th week! But even with an agonizingly painful toe, I managed to not create a compensation posture in my pelvis or back to make matters worse. I followed my own basic rules of posture and sprinkled in the wisdom of my peers and — knock on wood — the experiment is going great so far!

Standing posture

Let’s start with the perfect pregnancy posture for standing. This will help you avoid back pain now and other issues in the future:

1. Place feet hip-socket-width apart, toes pointed forward (like you’re wearing skis).

2. Keep your buttock muscles turned on 20 percent to stabilize your pelvis (and get a little lift to boot).

3. Angle the bottom of your ribcage down like a bony periscope targeting in on your pelvis (not thrusting forward or slouching backward).

4. Center your skull over your chest, with the back of your head pressing into an imaginary head-rest.

5. Your shoulders should not be floating forward or behind the ribcage (thus distorting the spine). Instead, keep them positioned directly under the ears and down.

29 weeks! My baby-moon in Cancun and Baby Carriage is on full display.

Believe it or not, standing well builds a lot of foundational strength in your body, and is the basis of all of your movement and exercise. As I’ve mentioned in prior blogs, your posture follows you like a shadow, and you certainly don’t want to have a “creepy” shadow while you’re carrying precious cargo. Take your strong posture into whichever exercise practice you prefer and be mindful of staying connected to the relationship of your skull, torso, low back and pelvis to maintain optimal stability.

To be continued …

I will happily be sharing my full journey with you in later blogs, along with additional pregnancy tips that have kept me healthy, strong and centered throughout my pregnancy. But for now, I need to take a nap!

[Reprinted with permission from Gaiam Life.]

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Jill Miller

Jill Miller, C-IAYT, ERYT is the co-founder of Tune Up Fitness Worldwide and creator of the self-care fitness formats Yoga Tune Up® and The Roll Model® Method. With more than 30 years of study in anatomy and movement, she is a pioneer in forging relevant links between the worlds of fitness, yoga, massage, athletics and pain management. She is known as the Teacher’s Teacher and has trained thousands of movement educators, clinicians, and manual therapists to incorporate her paradigm shifting self-care fitness programming into athletic and medical facility programs internationally. She has crafted original programs for 24 Hour Fitness, Equinox, YogaWorks, and numerous professional sports teams. She and her team of 500+ trainers help you to live better in your body with an emphasis on proprioception, mobility, breath mechanics and recovery. She has presented case studies at the Fascia Research Congress and International Association of Yoga Therapy conferences. She has the rare ability to translate complex physiological and biomechanical information into accessible, relevant moves that help her students transform pain, dysfunction and injury into robust fitness. Jill is the anatomy columnist for Yoga Journal Magazine and has been featured in Shape, Men’s Journal, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health, Yoga Journal, Self, and on the Today Show and Good Morning America. Jill is regularly featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network. She is the creator of dozens of DVD’s including Treat While You Train with Kelly Starrett DPT and is the author of the internationally bestselling book The Roll Model: A Step by Step Guide to Erase Pain, Improve Mobility and Live Better in your Body. Based in Los Angeles, CA, she is a wife and mother of two small children and is currently writing her second book.

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Laura Woodrow

Thanks for giving me a basic ABC fundamentally important teaching to pass on to my pregnant patients.

Irene

Thank you Jill for this. This is great food for thought. It is also important to establish good posture even before one gets pregnant so that during pregnancy, you will already have the postural awareness you need to carry the new baby weight comfortably.

Anna

This is a great post! It is especially important to be aware of an be able to manage the magnitude of changes that happen in your body during pregnancy. You constantly hear women complain about the discomfort they are experiencing, especially in the 3rd trimester- making these postural corrections while standing will provide so much support!

Riannon

This is great! These tips are great for before, during and after a baby bump.

Gabi Schaeffer

This postural check and practice is going to be so useful in my prenatal yoga classes. Thanks!

Lee

Great Tip Jill! Not only does this posture create freedom of movement for the mum to be, it also maximises the space in which bub to be can float.. When posture of mum is poor, babies have less space available in which to birth, they also have less turning space pre-birth so may end up in breech or posterial presentation. A chiropractor friend once explained the image of the uterus as a hot air balloon and the ligaments holding it in place as guide ropes…if these are pulled unevenly in any direction this can significantly change the shape! Your posture… Read more »

Bonnie Chiong

Simple and concise: 5 steps to maintain great posture during pregnancy…I would even recommend following these post-baby to help realign the body as it recovers! I’m a fan of the 20% buttock activation to stabilize the pelvis. This is something I’m going to try as I still have laxity in my own body from nursing.

Kate

As a prenatal teacher, this is a great reminder that sometimes the most simple postures can be the most beneficial. It does take foundational strength to stand in a good position, and the amount of work it will take to maintain this position will change over the course of pregnancy. These tips are an easy way to keep the stance in check during pregnancy, thanks!

Heather

This post is a great reminder of good posture practices for us all. I work with a fair number of pregnant women and most of their complaints are of low back pain. Activating the glutes just 20% at the beginning of pregnancy and continuing that practice throughout pregnancy and after could save a lot of these women.

Dana

I think so much in pregnancy is not just taking care of the growing baby inside but really taking responsibility for being aware of how your body is changing with a growing baby. There is never a better time to really get quiet and be aware of your body and how you move. You body changes so much and so quickly throughout the 10 months that you have the advantage to see the changes quickly. Small things like gentle stretching with good alignement and how your posture is effect so many things driving towards labor.

Jessica

I so wish I had this when I was prego 17yrs ago 😉

Chantal Gray

This came up in YTU training yesterday when we learned about blind spots in the pelvic floor. For all these years, I’ve been blaming my children for my “snissing” never making the connection that my posture during and after pregnancy had everything to do with it. Now I know better – Thanks for sharing!

Pete Shaw

Posture is everything. Kelly Starrett would probably say, “enter the pregnancy tunnel in a good position if you want to come out in a good position.”

KCB

As a prenatal yoga teacher I see many pregnant women suffering from all sorts of pregnancy-related pains, often due to posture, whether it’s sitting most of the day or standing, or walking in correct/balanced alignment. This article is such a valuable tool that every pregnant woman should read at the beginning to help avoid future pains!

Christine Colonna

Great article! Most people are unaware of the postural challenges and changes the body goes through when pregnant. Developing postural awareness early in the pregnancy could help decrease pain that can develop due to hypermobility and postural changes.

Shakti Rowan

Thank you, I really like the reference to the boney periscope looking down into the pelvis! It made me look up the word periscope. If you want a laugh, look it up in the urban dictionary. 🙂

Kate

This post is such a great reminder to pregnant women in all stages of their pregnancy. It’s amazing how becoming more present and aware of your stance can help alleviate many common complaints during pregnancy. Your five tips are very much in line with the Anusara principles of Tadasana (feet hip width, buttocks muscles firing, inner body bright, side body long). I constantly remind my pregnant students to check themselves in the mirror. The belly wants to pull the weight forward, but constantly practicing this standing posture will help them maintain a strong, healthy balance as their weight continues to… Read more »

Kim

First of all, your bump is lovely!! And thanks so much for this. I was so very uncomfortable during pregnancy. I’m glad you’re addressing it. Having the tools available to reduce your discomfort is empowering.

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