The huge physical changes that occur during pregnancy can make normally simple tasks like sitting down and standing up surprisingly challenging. So challenging, in fact, that as time goes on your favourite armchair could become tough to sit in.
While there’s a huge amount of information out there about eating healthily during pregnancy and exercising safely, there’s surprisingly little about a topic that’s very important for any expectant mother: sitting down comfortably.
From swollen ankles to a sore lower back, sitting poorly during pregnancy can lead to a range of frustrating health effects. Many of these can be avoided by improving your posture and making your furniture more pregnancy friendly.
In this guide, we’ll share 10 tips that you can use to make your sofa, recliner, office chair or bench seat more comfortable and avoid the health and comfort downsides of pregnancy.
CHOOSE AN OFFICE CHAIR WITH STRONG ARMRESTS
In your first trimester, you probably won’t need any additional support from your office chair. As time goes on, however, the weight gain that comes with pregnancy (between 25 and 35 pounds, on average) can make standing up difficult.
Make sitting down and standing up as simple as possible – and as easy on your back and shoulders as possible – by investing in an office chair with strong and adjustable armrests.
FEELING SORE? USE A CUSHION TO SUPPORT YOUR BACK
Since the bulk of the weight you’ll gain during pregnancy is in your abdomen, your posture – both while standing and while sitting – will naturally adjust. This change in posture often leads to soreness and discomfort in your lower back while sitting.
If your sofa or armchair is leaving you with a sore lower back, support yourself by placing a small cushion between your back and the rear of the sofa. Adding a small cushion to your office chair is also a great way to add additional lumbar support.
KEEP YOUR FEET ON THE FLOOR FOR OPTIMUM COMFORT
Leaving your feet dangling from the sofa or your office chair can result in swelling and discomfort. This is because pregnancy affects your blood pressure, resulting in the veins in your extremities – such as hands and feet – working extra hard.
Avoid swollen, uncomfortable ankles by keeping your feet placed flat on the floor whenever you sit down at home. It’s fine to lift your legs every now and then, but avoid letting them rest in the air without some form of support for blood flow.
SIT ON A CUSHION TO SOFTEN OVERLY FIRM OFFICE CHAIRS
Does your office chair offer far too little in the way of comfort? Many office chairs have extremely firm seats – features ostensibly included to make achieving good posture easier.
Thanks to the extra weight of pregnancy – not to mention the change in your body’s weight distribution – the hard seats of many office and dining chairs can leave you feeling uncomfortable after a few hours of sitting down.
Ease your pain and add some comfort to your office chair by sitting on a small, thin cushion. Alternatively, add a small foam pad to your office chair to relieve most of the pressure placed on your legs and buttocks by the extra pregnancy weight.
BUY A REMOTE TRAY SO YOU DON’T NEED TO GET UP
Feel like watching a movie? Instead of leaving the remotes on top of the coffee table, forcing you to stand up and sit back down whenever you want to change the volume, buy a remote tray that you can place beside you on your sofa.
Getting up and down repeatedly strains your muscles, especially when you’re in the process of adjusting to the difficulties of pregnancy. Keep your TV remotes by your side to avoid discomfort and reduce your chance of pulling a muscle.
AVOID DEEP, ULTRA-SOFT SOFAS LATE IN PREGNANCY
Soft, heavily cushioned sofas feel wonderful to sit back in, especially during the later stages of pregnancy. However, because they’re so soft and easy to sink into, getting out and standing back up again can be a challenge.
If your living room has an incredibly soft, cushioned sofa, place a couple of cushions on top of its seat before you sit down. The extra height will make it easier for you to get up again and avoid you having to stretch and strain to stand back up.
SUPPORT YOUR FEET WITH A COMFORTABLE OTTOMAN
Don’t like keeping your feel flat on the floor? While it’s never a good idea to let your feet hang in the air from your sofa or chair, supporting them on an ottoman is a good way to relieve discomfort and improve blood flow.
Elevating your feet improves blood flow, reversing the blood flow issues that can be commonplace during the second and third trimester. Whether it’s your ottoman or your coffee table, find something in your living room to make resting your feet easy.
EVERY HOUR, STAND UP AND WALK IN YOUR LIVING ROOM
When you’re pregnant, your risk of developing deep vein thrombosis increases due to your body’s change in blood flow. This can make sitting in one place without any movement surprisingly risky.
Although pregnancy increases your risk of deep vein thrombosis by a factor of 10, it needn’t be cause for alarm. Stand up and walk around your living room slowly every hour to increase your body’s blood flow and ensure clots can’t form.
SITTING BACK? AVOID TIGHT CLOTHING THAT COULD PINCH
While tight clothes can cause discomfort even when you’re not pregnant, they could also be a health risk during the later stages of pregnancy. Since your blood pressure is lower than usual while pregnant, tight clothes can pinch and reduce blood flow.
This is especially problematic when you sit down, since tight pants and underwear then become more noticeable. Avoid “pinching” veins and reducing blood flow by wearing loose, elastic clothing that stretches to adjust to your posture.
NEED A BREAK? STRADDLE YOUR CHAIR INSTEAD OF SITTING
It might sound silly, but sitting backwards – that is, straddling your chairso that its back is in front of you – is actually better for you than sitting normally, particularly during pregnancy.
Straddling your chair forces you to keep your back arched, shifting weight from the muscles in your lower back to your hips and thighs. Switch up your seating position from normal to straddle every now and then for comfort and variety.
HOW DID YOU STAY COMFORTABLE DURING PREGNANCY?
From aches and pains to morning sickness, being pregnant isn’t always a pleasant experience. From straddling your chair for extra support to propping your feet up on the coffee table, what did you do to make pregnancy more comfortable?
When you are pregnant, you have no idea how grateful you get when you can sit / lie down ^___^ oh the comfort!!!!— Bubz (@bubzbeauty) 12 August 2014