/You’re halfway through the baby shower. Feeling a little uncomfortable while sitting in your chair, you decide to cross your legs. Suddenly there are looks of shock and howls of protest by the guests.
As a first-time mom, you wonder why you can’t cross your legs during the shower. Let’s run you through the reasons. Are they based on fact or just old wives’ tales?
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What will happen if you cross your legs
As a first-time mother, you will be given all kinds of advice from those who have “been there and done that”. Some of the information is good and other pieces leave you wondering if it’s true.
Crossing your legs while pregnant is one of those areas.
You’ll have a conehead baby
This is one of the more interesting theories. The idea behind this is that crossing your legs squeezes the baby’s head. The result is that the child is born with a permanent conical-shaped head.
Is it true?
No! Your child is protected in the womb by the placenta and fluids. So there is no need to be concerned that sitting cross-legged is going to deform your baby.
You will find that when the child is born, there is a cone-like shape to their head. That is due to them coming through the birth canal and entering this world.
It’s not permanent and the baby’s head will develop into a non-cone shape. It just takes a week or two.
Varicose veins will develop
Another popular belief surrounding crossing your legs while pregnant.
Those who attend your baby shower will tell you not to. It’s because that sitting posture will cause varicose veins. Unsightly things they are!
Yet, we can cast that advice on the “old wives’ tale” pile. That’s because there is not much evidence to support the idea that crossing your legs results in varicose veins.
Such veins develop when the blood in your legs fails to make up to the heart. Instead, it falls back down and collects in your legs.
You may think that sitting for several hours during a baby shower may result in varicose veins. But it requires more than just a “one-off” situation.
It is standing and sitting for extended periods that can lead to varicose veins. However, by changing your posture throughout the day reduces the chance you will develop these veins.
During the baby shower, change the position in which you are sitting.
Your blood pressure will rise
Increased blood pressure during pregnancy can be serious.
Your heart and kidneys need to work harder. The result is medical issues with these organs and the possibility of a stroke.
For the baby, there is a chance of the child being born earlier, placental abruption (which affects the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the baby), and delivery by C-section.
That is why you may be told not to cross your legs when you are having your baby shower. Crossing your legs does raise the blood pressure, but it’s only a temporary increase.
You will get cramps
Sitting with your legs crossed can cause swelling in the ankles and cramps. That’s a fact.
It’s because you are affecting the blood flow through your legs. So if you find that your legs are starting to feel a bit funny, switch your sitting position.
So I can’t sit cross-legged in my baby shower?
Most of the advice we have looked at around sitting cross-legged has been proven to be wrong. So that should give you a sense of relief.
As you go from the first trimester to the third trimester, sitting can become uncomfortable. So, you need to move, twist and reposition yourself in a way that alleviates some of the discomfort.
If you want to avoid sitting cross-legged, there are some positions you can try. These can ease the aches, pains, and soreness associated with pregnancy.
Here is one recommendation from webmd.com:
- Sit up with your back straight and your shoulders back. Your buttocks should touch the back of your chair.
- Sit with a back support (such as a small, rolled-up towel or a lumbar roll) at the curve of your back. Pregnancy pillows are sold at many retailers.
Webmd recommends the following if you aren’t using back support:
- Sit at the end of your chair and slouch completely.
- Draw yourself up and accentuate the curve of your back as far as possible. Hold for a few seconds.
- Release the position slightly (about 10 degrees). This is a good sitting posture.
- Distribute your body weight evenly on both hips.
- Keep your hips and knees at a right angle (use a foot rest or stool if necessary). Your legs should not be crossed and your feet should be flat on the floor.
- Try to avoid sitting in the same position for more than 30 minutes.
- At work, adjust your chair height and workstation so you can sit up close to your desk. Rest your elbows and arms on your chair or desk, keeping your shoulders relaxed.
- When sitting in a chair that rolls and pivots, don’t twist at the waist while sitting. Instead, turn your whole body.
- When standing up from the sitting position, move to the front of the seat of your chair. Stand up by straightening your legs. Avoid bending forward at your waist. Upon standing, do several pregnancy-safe back stretches.
The above sitting postures ease the stress on your back.
Crossing your legs while seated is okay. The only issue is that it may increase your discomfort. If you have pelvic girdle pain, then don’t cross your legs while seated.
Also, your pelvis can be put out of alignment when sitting with your legs crossed. That means your weight won’t be evenly distributed through your legs, which makes things uncomfortable.
It’s not taboo
At the baby shower, you may decide you want to cross your legs. That’s fine if it is only for a short period of time and helps to relieve some tension from your body.
Well-meaning guests may tell you the dangers of sitting in such a position.
You don’t want to have a baby that is stuck with a conehead, do you? That’s something that you can ignore as it’s a myth.
Yet, sitting cross-legged can put extra stress on your legs. There is a recommended way for you to sit when pregnant.
Keep your back straight and have your feet flat on the floor. Also, sit no longer than half an hour.
Keep the blood flowing in your legs and you will be fine. That doesn’t mean the pregnancy aches are gone. It just reduces the factors that contribute to the discomfort.
Now, sit yourself down and relax.