Sitting Positions to Avoid During Pregnancy

a pregnant woman reading a book


Your pregnancy journey is a memorable and exciting time in your life, so don’t let that excitement be dulled from pain in your lower back, hips, ankles, and feet! When it comes to being pregnant your body is going to go through a ton of physiological changes. To keep up with your evolving needs during this time, it’s important to learn how to sit properly while pregnant and which sitting positions to avoid during pregnancy.

We’re here to help guide you through some of these needs with a few sitting positions to avoid during pregnancy, the added importance of posture while pregnant, and some tips for how to sit that may help keep you comfortable and healthy!

Importance of Sitting Posture In Pregnancy

Before we hop into which sitting positions to avoid during pregnancy, let’s talk about the impact of pregnancy on posture (1) while pregnant. Learning to improve posture is beneficial for everyone, but there’s an extra importance on maintaining good posture during pregnancy that you’ll want to know about, not only for physical reasons, but to help mental health and pregnancy be manageable together as well.

First, in case you need a refresh or a more thorough understanding, what is good posture? Good posture is when your body is in alignment while sitting, standing, or lying down. In more simple terms, it means you’re standing up straight and the natural curvature of your spine is supported.

During pregnancy, the importance of posture becomes even more crucial to your overall health as poor posture could lead to added aches and pregnancy pains as well as more serious complications during pregnancy that could jeopardize the health of your baby.

In the later stages of pregnancy, posture ups its importance again as your ligaments and tendons begin to soften for the labor process. During this time, even simple movements like overstretching can cause potential soreness, meaning that poor posture may exacerbate those issues.

As if you needed any more encouragement to understand the importance of good posture and why you need to learn which sitting positions to avoid during pregnancy, good posture can also help your baby get into the proper birthing position more easily. This may help decrease the likelihood of delivery complications.

A Few Sitting Positions to Avoid During Pregnancy

Okay now you’ve got it that posture is extra important when you’re pregnant, you need to know what position to avoid during pregnancy, right? We’ve got you covered! Some of these items may be difficult to make routine at first since you’re so used to doing them, but once you’ve made the conscious effort (and experienced how much better you feel) to sit properly during pregnancy they’ll become second nature.

Some sitting positions to avoid during pregnancy include:

  • Crossing your legs
  • Using a chair or stool without a backrest
  • Sitting too long in the same position
  • Turning or twisting at the waist
  • Sitting in a chair or recliner without leg support

Avoid Crossing Legs While Pregnant

First up on our list of sitting positions to avoid during pregnancy is one you may struggle with the most at first! So often when we sit down the first thing we do is cross our legs. Unfortunately, this action during pregnancy could lead to discomfort due to swollen joints, poor circulation, and possible inflammation.

Restricting blood flow here could even possibly raise your blood pressure (learn helpful methods for how to lower blood pressure during pregnancy after this article). 

Importance of Back Support for a Chair While Pregnant

This sitting position to avoid during pregnancy may seem strange at first. What’s the problem with using a chair or stool with no backrest if good posture is all about sitting up straight?

Sitting properly while pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t rest your back against the chair, though! In fact, if you’re sitting in a chair or on a stool with no back, you’re actually putting extra pressure on your lower back and pelvic region. This is a common cause of back pain and may lead to experiencing sciatica symptoms while you’re pregnant.

Instead, choose a comfortable chair that has ample back and seat support. For those wanting to really up their self care game during pregnancy, consider something like a luxury zero gravity chair to not only provide comfort, provide pregnancy back pain relief,  but also boost your health, as well.

Sitting Too Long in the Same Position During Pregnancy

It’s important to relax and get off your feet while pregnant, but if you don’t switch up positions or use a chair that will help prevent pain from sitting too long, you may accidentally do more harm than good.

This is why the next item on our list of sitting positions to avoid during pregnancy is actually more about sitting in the same position too long! If you’re sitting on a couch or traditional recliner try to change positions safely every 10 to 15 minutes. Using a zero gravity chair may help avoid bad sitting habits during pregnancy and actually work to heal your mind and body while you relax, instead.

Pro Tip: Learn more about choosing between a zero gravity chair or recliner and which is better for your needs after this article.

Dangling Legs Can Lead to Lower Back and Leg Pain While Pregnant

Whether you’re sitting in a dining chair, on a couch, or in a zero gravity chair you got for your pregnancy journey (and afterward!), the next sitting position to avoid during pregnancy is letting your legs dangle. This may be especially challenging for shorter individuals but not impossible to fix.

The simplest way to fix this is to make sure your chair allows you to sit with your feet firmly on the floor or reclines in a way that supports your legs and prevents them from dangling. Allowing your legs to dangle may result in blood circulation issues and result in painful swelling and inflammation.

To avoid slouching if you have to sit away from the backrest in order to let your feet touch the floor (for example, at your dining table), you may want to consider a back pillow for lumbar support. This back support will help keep your spine in its natural alignment and improve your posture during pregnancy.

Are There Sitting Positions to Avoid in the Third Trimester?

As you progress into the third trimester of pregnancy, your body undergoes significant changes, and paying extra attention to your sitting positions becomes crucial. Here are specific sitting positions to avoid during this stage:

  • Cross-legged sitting: Crossing your legs can place additional pressure on blood vessels, potentially leading to swelling and discomfort. Opt for sitting with your feet flat on the ground to promote proper blood circulation.
  • Prolonged sitting without breaks: Extended periods of sitting, especially without breaks, can contribute to stiffness and discomfort. Aim to stand, stretch, or take short walks regularly to alleviate pressure on your lower back and hips.
  • Unsupported reclining: Sitting in a reclined position without proper support for your back can strain your lower back and pelvis. Ensure your chair provides adequate lumbar support or consider using additional pillows.
  • Sitting on low or unsupportive surfaces: Avoid sitting on low or unsupportive surfaces that make it challenging to get up comfortably. Opt for chairs with proper back support and height to minimize stress on your joints.
  • Twisting or turning at the waist: Twisting or turning at the waist can strain the ligaments supporting your growing uterus. Minimize abrupt movements and make slow, deliberate motions to reduce the risk of discomfort.
  • Ignoring discomfort: If you experience discomfort or pain while sitting, it's essential not to ignore it. Discomfort may be a signal that your body needs a change in position. Listen to your body and make necessary adjustments.
  • Neglecting proper lumbar support: Insufficient lumbar support can contribute to back pain. Choose chairs that provide adequate support to the natural curve of your spine, or use additional pillows to fill the gap between your lower back and the chair.

Always prioritize your comfort and well-being during the third trimester. Experiment with different sitting positions and accessories to find what works best for you. If you have specific concerns or questions, consult with your healthcare provider for personalized guidance.

Tips for How To Sit While Pregnant

Ensuring comfort while sitting during pregnancy involves a combination of mindful practices and supportive accessories. Consider these tips to make your sitting experience comfortable while pregnant::

  1. Use supportive cushions: Employ cushions or pregnancy-specific pillows to enhance lumbar support and maintain proper spinal alignment. Experiment with different sizes and shapes to find the most comfortable configuration for you.
  2. Regular movement breaks: Break up prolonged sitting periods with short walks or standing stretches. This not only helps improve circulation but also reduces the risk of stiffness and discomfort.
  3. Optimize chair ergonomics: Choose chairs that support the natural curve of your spine. If needed, place a small cushion or rolled-up towel behind your lower back to fill the gap and provide additional support.
  4. Hydration and snacking: Stay hydrated and maintain regular, healthy snacks to support your energy levels. Dehydration and hunger can contribute to discomfort, so keep water and nutritious snacks within reach.
  5. Mindful posture checks: Periodically assess your posture while sitting. Ensure your back is well-supported, and your feet are flat on the ground. Gentle reminders to maintain good posture can make a significant difference.
  6. Customize your space: Arrange your sitting area to accommodate your changing needs. Consider a versatile zero gravity chair that allows you to recline with proper support. Create a cozy and ergonomic space that encourages relaxation.

Products to Help How To Sit When Pregnant

Maintaining proper sitting positions during pregnancy is crucial for your comfort and well-being. Luckily, there are various products designed to support your body and promote good posture, making your sitting experience more enjoyable. Here are some recommended products:

  1. Pregnancy pillows: Invest in a quality pregnancy pillow to provide support to your back, hips, and growing belly. These pillows come in various shapes and sizes, offering versatile options to suit your specific needs.
  2. Lumbar support pillows: Consider using a lumbar support pillow to maintain the natural curve of your spine. These pillows can be placed behind your lower back when sitting, reducing the strain on your lumbar region.
  3. Body pillows: A body pillow can be a great addition to your sitting routine. It supports multiple areas simultaneously, helping alleviate discomfort in your back, hips, and legs. Experiment with different positions to find what works best for you.
  4. Zero gravity chairs: Zero gravity chairs provide a unique reclining position that distributes your body weight evenly and helps with neutral spine position. This reduces pressure on your spine and promotes optimal blood circulation. Look for chairs with adjustable features to adapt to your changing needs.
  5. Seat cushions: Enhance the comfort of your chair with a specialized seat cushion. Some cushions are designed to relieve pressure on your tailbone and provide additional support during long periods of sitting.
  6. Prenatal yoga ball: Sitting on a prenatal yoga ball can engage your core muscles and promote better posture. It's an excellent way to maintain flexibility and balance during pregnancy.

Knowing The Positions to Avoid While Pregnant Is Important

As you can see, the importance of good posture means there are a number of sitting positions to avoid while pregnant and what position to avoid during pregnancy might surprise you.

While getting used to these and making sure you’re not practicing bad sitting habits may take a little adjusting, you’ll find they may be extremely helpful along your journey. So don’t cross your legs, make sure you’ve got proper back and leg support, and consider choosing a zero gravity chair for a variety of health benefits during pregnancy. Your body will thank you!

Want to learn more about using zero gravity chairs during pregnancy and beyond? Check out these resources:

Disclaimer: This content is not medical advice. Please consult with your health care professional when considering implementing changes to your health or workout routines to ensure it’s compatible with your needs.