How you sit makes a difference for your body mechanics as well as your baby's. You can sit in such a way that cramps the baby's space or torques your body into unusual positions and probably makes malposition more likely.
Car seats are particularly poorly made for good alignment, which is extra important in pregnancy to give the baby plenty of room. Avoid lengthy car rides as much as possible. For best body mechanics, posture, and core strength, whether pregnant or not, follow these steps to a better car seat.
Step 1. Adjust the back to be straight up. You are trying to create an L shape to sit on, like a church pew. Alignment experts recommend the back be all the way up. Big hair? I keep my hair in a bun or ponytail a lot, so the seat back straight up as recommended makes my head tilt forward uncomfortably. I tilt it back just enough to make room for my hair.
Step 3. Undo the butt-in-bucket effect of the car's bucket seat. Place a folded towel in the space to make the seat more even and parallel to the floor. Even when you have adjusted in steps one and two, you will see a little butt crevice that is supposed to be comfy. It is comfy, but it's not good. The seat looks somewhat like a check mark. Sitting for long periods in a check mark is a good way to get a breech or posterior baby. It's also a good way to mess up your natural body alignment, weaken your core, and cause yourself chronic discomfort.
How to fold a towel wedge for the butt crevice in the car or elsewhere.
You can also use a slo-mo or other kid's ball that has all but a small amount of air removed. Place this mostly deflated ball between your butt bones to help raise you up and tilt your pelvis. I think this feels good when sitting on a bench or kitchen chair as well.
Step 4. Use the fake pedal on the left to brace yourself and perfect your alignment. Shoulders square, both hands on the wheel. Ten and Two like your dad always told you. Symmetry and balance. When you lean back and put that one long arm at Twelve o'clock, nothing but torque in your spine and breech in your belly.
Now, Test your alignment.
1. Knees at or below level of hips?
2. Pelvis tilted down slightly, into the seat?
3. Small of back curved in, not rounded out?
4. Shoulders back, two hands on wheel for symmetry and balance?
5. Rib cage down? Core engaged?
A good test for #2 and #3 is as follows: Rock side to side a bit to feel the butt bones you're sitting on. Feel 'em? Now tilt your pelvis forward slightly-- the small of your back will curve in nicely, sticking your belly out. Great for your body and your baby.
Sitting in chairs
Midwives who work among the Amish have noted a significant increase in the incidence of breech since the Amish community switched from traditional wooden chairs to sofas and recliners. As you can imagine, they generally don't spend much time in cars. When you can, avoid sofas, recliners, and other lounge chairs. Pretend you are in a Jane Austen novel.
1. Knees at a 45 degree angle.
2. Knees at or below level of hips.
You see why a habitually cramped baby might stay breech
to give his head a bit more room up top. 3. Pelvis tilted down slightly, into the seat?
4. Small of back curved in, not rounded out?
5. Rib cage down? Core engaged?
Alternative sitting ideas:
Use a kitchen chair, but sit on it backwards, leaning on the back. This is excellent for creating a nice belly hammock for your baby, which helps her get into the best position for birth.
Use a Swedish chair.
Sit on a well-inflated exercise ball. Keep your feet apart and make sure your knees are apart, belly between your legs.
Tailor sitting on the floor. Use blankets or towels under butt and ankles as necessary.
When you can, instead of sitting on the couch or recliner, when you want to relax, just lay down. There are a number of good pillow and cushion arrangements to support your back and belly as you lay on your side.