Improve Your Posture, Reduce Pregnancy Pain

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When you stand properly, joints, muscles and organs work painlessly. Here's your head-to-toe guide to standing straight.

Related: The Prenatal Exercise Plan That Soothes Pregnancy Symptoms

Head

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Hold it directly in line with your heart. Every inch forward that your head “hangs” adds 10 pounds of stress to the upper back, says Jill Miller, a fitness expert in Los Angeles and creator of pain-relief-focused fitness program Yoga Tune Up.

Shoulders

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Set them to the sides of your body, not rounding forward (a common problem) or pinching back.

Ribs

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Before pregnancy, your rib cage hovered directly above your pelvis. As the baby grows, your ribs thrust forward and arch out of alignment as your upper back tilts backward. Use your upper abs to pull front ribs in; hold your upper back upright so the bottom of your ribs faces straight downward.

Pelvis

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Engage the glutes to provide pelvic support. Flexing your butt this way reminds you not to thrust one hip out to the side—and tones the pelvic floor.

Feet

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Place feet hipwidth apart, toes pointed forward, not turned out like a duck. Your feet, knees, hips and spine will all work more smoothly.

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