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Office Hour: 3 Ways to Feel Better at Your Desk


By Erika Bloom


We all know by now that sitting for hours a day does us no favors—and staying put at a desk while pregnant can feel even more uncomfortable than normal.

The weight of a growing baby (and an expanding uterus) puts downward pressure on your pelvis and hip joints. The ligaments of the pelvis and the connective tissue surrounding the organs are loosening. The pelvis is opening and shifting.

On top of that, your legs and hips take on a greater role in stabilizing your pelvis and spine as your core becomes less accessible. Sitting doesn’t allow the legs and hips to fully engage; increased instability in the spine and pelvis may cause even greater stretching and displacement that lead to aches and pains.

Your unpregnant body adjusts easily from sitting to standing: muscles release or contract, joints move, connective tissue rebounds. But with a bump, so much change is happening to adjust for a growing baby that the body’s responses become sources of discomfort rather than natural reactions.

All of this leads to that “ugh” you feel when getting up after a marathon work session. Moving around more regularly during the day (often easier said than done, we know) is the first step to remedying it. But go a step further and try these three simple movements that will ease discomfort and help your expecting body stay healthy and balanced.

Torso Stretch

Stand with your left shoulder to a wall. Place your left hand on the wall next to your side for balance and support. Bring your right foot back into a small lunge. Reach your right hand out to the side, up and over toward the wall to bring you into a left side bend. Lengthen from your right heel to your right fingertips while breathing into your back, side and belly. Repeat on the other side. Alternate, performing twice on each side.

Hip Shifts

Stand behind a sturdy chair or face your desk. Place your hands on the back of the chair or on your desk and walk your feet back until you are in a forward fold, with a flat back and straight arms. Lengthen from your fingers to your sitz bones (the bones at the base of your pelvis). Now widen your stance to about two to three feet, keeping your feet parallel. Slowly shift your hips as far as you can to the right while keeping your back long and your legs straight. Switch sides, shifting your hips to the left. Repeat, alternating sides, until your hips and legs feel open—about 10 repetitions.

Belly Lift

Interlace your fingers below your belly like you are supporting it in a hammock made by your arms. Gently lift up your belly with your arms as though you are supporting your uterus from underneath. Take a deep breath. Slowly release your belly back down. Perform five repetitions, remembering to take deep breaths throughout.

Erika Bloom is the founder and owner of Erika Bloom Pilates Plus, a certified pre- and postnatal Pilates instructor and a trained doula and birth coach.

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