Is sitting with one leg crossed over the other, your comfy posture? Comfort always matters. But, sitting cross-legged during pregnancy-is it safe? Well, pregnancy is a time your body goes through various significant changes. And you are worried about every single thing that you do because of the fragile phase you are in.
All these changes bring about cramps, backaches, and various muscle pains during pregnancy. Postures while sitting, standing, walking, or lying down are vital for the body’s proper alignment.
It is important to maintain the right posture always. A wrong posture can disturb bodily functions such as digestion, breathing, etc. It can also bring about pain in the neck, shoulder, back, hips, and knee joints.
A good posture while sitting during pregnancy will enhance muscle functions and boost the blood flow. On the other hand, wrong postures while sitting during pregnancy can trigger ankle swelling and contributes to leg cramps.
Is It Safe To Sit Cross Legged During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, you might tend to try out different positions while sitting to get a comfortable one. None of these positions will harm your baby, or healthy pregnancy progression provided it causes no strain or pain to any part of your body.
During pregnancy, it’s important to listen to your body. Intently, that is. Whenever you experience pain or numbness or any discomfort, change your position. If the discomfort or pain persists even after changing positions, it is important to consult your doctor.
Therefore, if you ask is sitting crossed legged bad during pregnancy, the answer is it is not bad if you are 100% comfortable with it. If the body sends you warning signs of pains and strains, it is better to choose another comfortable sitting positing during pregnancy.
According to studies, crossing one leg over the other can cause a temporary rise in blood pressure. It can also interrupt the blood flow, thereby contributing to varicose veins. Therefore, if you already have pregnancy hypertension, sitting crossed legged for longer periods is not safe.
It is also found that sitting crossed legged for a long time on the floor, couch, or bed can bring about knee pain. Again, don’t forget that peoples’ bodies react differently to the same situation. Therefore, sitting cross-legged may not bring about knee pain to all expecting women.
Is It Safe To Sit Cross-Legged On The Floor During Pregnancy?
Sitting cross-legged on the floor is one of the common habits in Indian families. Many of us are used to sit cross legged from childhood. Even now, in many traditional homes people sit cross- legged on the floor during mealtimes. Many women choose to sit this way while doing certain household chores and certain religious ceremonies.
Sitting cross-legged during early pregnancy will not cause any harm, provided you never sit at a stretch for a prolonged time. But after the first trimester, you have to be extra cautious about your postures as physically and physiologically, many significant changes occur from thereon.
Any position that opens up the pelvis contributes to a very important labor step- opening up of the pelvis. Tailor sitting (sitting criss-cross) will loosen the hip joint and open up the pelvis during pregnancy. It also eases the tension in the lower back of the expecting mother.
However, once the pregnancy progresses, sitting criss-cross for a long time during the day may result in tilting pelvic backward. This may keep the baby from moving to the right position. The baby may take a posterior position.
When Should Avoid Sitting Cross Legged During Pregnancy?
You should completely avoid sitting cross-legged when pregnant if you have SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) or PGP (pelvic girdle pain). Sitting cross-legged in these conditions may put the pelvis in an uneven position. This increases the strain in the pelvic area and increases the pain and discomfort.
Also, if you have a family history of varicose veins, avoid sitting cross-legged for a long time. Sitting cross-legged can put pressure on the ankles and legs. This can hamper blood circulation. If the blood circulation is restricted, it can cause swelling and trigger the formation of varicose veins.
Likewise, sitting on the floor cross-legged is not recommended, especially when you get into your third trimester. This is because you will not be able to get up easily then unless there is something strong like a wall you can hold to. During pregnancy, one should avoid such a situation.
What Happens When You Cross Your Legs During Pregnancy?
Let’s see why you should not want to cross your legs during pregnancy. While we say crossing your legs, we mean crossing at your knee. You can still cross at your ankle. It doesn’t cause issues. Also, sitting cross-legged during the first trimester also may not cause any issues.
Let us see what happens when you cross your legs during pregnancy. When you sit crossing the legs at the knee, it will not allow your spine to be in a perfectly straight posture. This will overstretch the ligaments in the spine and also the pelvic muscle.
When you cross your legs, you will also tend to distort the shoulders. This can create neck, shoulder, and lower back pain. During pregnancy, this can become more of an issue.
Why Is It Said That Sitting Cross Legged Is Harmful To Pregnancy?
Sitting cross-legged is not considered good during pregnancy for various reasons, as also discussed above.
When you cross your legs, especially while sitting in a chair (with hard surface and rigid edge), your legs will be pressed hard against the rigid edge. This can potentially slow down or completely cut off the blood circulation towards the legs.
When the blood circulation is hampered, it can potentially bring about deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – a blood clot in deep veins. Studies show that pregnancy itself increases the risk of DVT. Expecting women with a family history of clotting disorders are more at risk of DVT.
Once a clot is formed, there is an increased chance of these blood clots break loose and travel through the bloodstream. This can bring about life-threatening issues in pregnant women.
The clots can get into the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal if not promptly detected and treated. In case the clot finds its way to the brain, it can cause paradoxical embolism leading to stroke.
What Is the Right Way to Sit During Pregnancy?
It is very important to choose the right sitting positions during pregnancy. A right sitting position itself helps ease the uneasiness and lessen the pressure on the spine.
Here are some simple tips that help you to choose the right sitting position during pregnancy. First of all, try to avoid sitting in the same position for more than half an hour. If your job demands it, get up and walk around frequently, preferably every hour.
Secondly, whatever sitting position you choose, always make sure your hips and knees at 900 angle. If required, you can use a footrest or stool while sitting. Also, make sure your legs are not crossed, and your feet lie flat on the floor.
Choose a chair with a cushioned armrest. Your arms can rest, and your shoulders can relax. Just make sure your elbow lies close to your body. Never use chairs on wheels as it will move every time you try to sit and stand up. Pregnancy is a time when you cam lose your balance unexpectedly.
Sitting Cross-Legged During The Third Trimester
Sitting cross-legged (one leg over the other) is not at all good during the third trimester. As this position compresses the pelvis, it leads to discomfort and motivates the baby to change its position.
During the 3rd trimester, the baby’s head is turning down towards the pelvis. But sitting cross-legged reduces the pelvic space. This urges the baby to change its position. Remember, towards the end of the third trimester, we want the baby face down.
Therefore, avoid sitting cross-legged during the third trimester. Instead, you can try the following postures. These postures will be more helpful if you experience lower back pain or pelvic girdle pain, or pain around the hips.
If you are used to sitting cross-legged, cross them across the ankle instead. You can cross your legs underneath the chair. You can also sit with your legs outstretched, with your ankles still crossed. However, while doing so, make sure the knees are pointed outwards.
You can also put your ankle over your knee so that you are not crossing your leg. By doing so, you are opening up the pelvis on one side. If you feel a little uncomfortable after some time, you can switch legs. Thus you are opening the pelvis on the other side as well.
Other Sitting Position To Avoid During Pregnancy
Avoid sitting with your legs hanging. This position increases the blood flow to the legs. This, in turn, increases the swelling in the legs. Also, try not to sit on a stool, bench, or a chair without a backrest. Sitting without back support creates a strain on your back.
Let’s wrap it up
Sitting with your legs crossed for a while won’t cause a medical emergency. However, during pregnancy, it is always beneficial to sit in the same posture for a long time. Also, never overlook the possibilities of a temporary spike in blood pressure, varicose vein, and DVT.
Maintaining a good posture helps with the painless progression of pregnancy. You can always start sitting cross-legged after delivery. Many mothers like to sit this way when they breastfeed their babies.