Is bending over in pregnancy safe?
There have been divergent views on the best posture in pregnancy, as regards picking objects from the floor. One school of thought says bending over in pregnancy poses a lot of risk to the bundle of joy, while another sect believes that bending during pregnancy will not hurt your baby in any way. But what is the medical position on this issue? Nature provides a wonderful cushioning system for the growing fetus. Gynecologists are of the view that the amniotic fluid allows the baby to move his arms, legs, practice breathing movements and flip around in your womb. They said it helps the baby to adapt easily as the mother changes position. Bending over will in no way affect your baby’s health adversely, they maintained.
The medical experts further submitted that bending does not harm the baby in any way. But as the baby grows, it will become difficult for the mother to bend. It may even increase her risk of tripping and may even cause other discomforts.
Here’s how bending down while pregnant can spell danger for the mother and her baby:
- Increases the risk of falling:
The biggest danger due to bending is that it increases the risk of tripping or falling. Falling and injuring your abdomen can prove dangerous during pregnancy. It can cause placental abruption or separation from the uterine wall and lead to vaginal bleeding or even miscarriage. The risk to the fetus due to bending and falling increases ten folds during the third trimester as the uterine wall thins out and the baby’s head drops into the pelvis.
- Causes dizziness:
Bending over while pregnant sends a rush of blood to the head, leaving you dizzy. Dizziness can lead to a loss of balance or consciousness and injury, which may adversely affect your baby.
- Leads to heartburn:
Bending increases the stress on the stomach and can aggravate heartburn, a common problem in late pregnancy. It can cause acid reflux or the reverse flow of stomach acid into the esophagus. It can lead to belching, a burning sensation in the food pipe and an unpleasant taste in the mouth.
- Causes strain:
Due to the growing baby bump, your centre of gravity will shift during pregnancy. Bending forward and then leaning back will strain your spine and damage your weakened ligaments further during pregnancy.
How to bend while pregnant
If you have to perform a task that requires bending, you should keep the following things in mind:
Remember to lower your knees instead of stretching your back.
You should also get up slowly using your hands, thighs, and knees rather than straining the muscles of the abdomen and stomach. It will help protect your back and strengthen your legs while allowing you to perform daily activities as your pregnancy advances.
While lifting an object, try to hold it under your baby bump to align it with your shifted center of gravity.
Remember to approach your everyday chores in a cautious way.
Maintaining good posture during pregnancy:
Good posture during pregnancy involves training the body to walk, sit, lie and stand in positions where you do not feel any strain. The bulging belly may make you feel like you are going to topple. But by taking a few steps, you can effectively maintain proper body mechanics. Here are a few posture tips that you must follow during pregnancy:
- Standing position:
While standing, your neck, head, and back should be in a straight line. Stand with your back against the wall for a few minutes every day. It is a great way of straightening your spine. Avoid standing in the same position for a long time.
- Sitting position:
Sit with your shoulders and spine straight. Your derriere should touch the back of the chair. You can use a pillow, rolled-up towel, a lumbar roll to support your back while sitting.
- Driving position:
While driving also, you must use a back support. The knees should be at the same level or even higher than your hips. You can also adjust your seat to allow your feet to reach the pedals, bend your knees and yet keep the steering wheel 10 inches away from your belly. Most importantly, always wear lap and shoulder safety belts while driving. You must place the lap belt as low on your hips as possible.
- Correct way to lift objects:
Ask for help when lifting heavy objects. If you are lifting the object alone, then make sure you have a firm footing. If you are picking up an object lower than your waist, then keep your back straight and bend your hips and knees. Never bend forward at the waist with your knees straight.
If you are lifting an object from the table, then slide it to the edge of the table to hold it close to your body. Exercise caution while holding heavy objects that are above your waist level.
- Sleeping and lying positions:
A good posture is crucial even when you are resting. You should not lie flat on your back or stomach while sleeping. Lying on the back during the third trimester can cause more stress on your heart and increase your chances of suffering from a backache.
Lying on the stomach will not be a very comfortable position for you. It can also reduce the blood flow and add pressure on the fetus. Most of the doctors advise pregnant women to lie on their left side during the third trimester. It will allow the blood to flow to the kidney, uterus and, of course, the fetus. So avoid the temptation of slumping at the end of a long day.