Monday, 15 August 2011
Preggie Product Review: Kneeling office chair
I'd first heard about these kneeling chairs (aka architect's chairs) when a colleague of mine in England got one. He had back trouble and swore by them. Then I heard they're good for pregnant women as they allow more room for the belly and are better for posture and the lower back.
When my back started aching from my normal chair at work (where I spend an awful lot of time) I started Googling them. They are quite expensive, around R1000. I don't know if I've ever before gone past the first 5 pages of a Google search; luckily this time I did because on page 8 I found a junkmail advert for a second hand one for a LOT less. I went to have a look and bought it on the spot. While obviously second-hand looking, it was in perfectly fine condition and exactly what I'd had in mind.
From the Wikipedia article:
The intended purpose of a kneeling chair is to reduce lower back strain by promoting proper spinal alignment.
A proper kneeling chair creates the open body angle by lowering the angle of the lower body, keeping the spine in alignment and the sitter properly positioned to task.
Although one's weight still rests primarily on the bum and not on the knees or shins like you would think, it does take some getting used to. The shins do take some weight and although you get used to it quickly, at first the shins do feel slightly sore at the end of the day.
Another effect of the shin pressure is a more frequent reminder to get up and stretch, get a glass of water or go to the loo. This isn't a problem for me to do as my bladder reminds me to get up long before my legs might, but in general I think this is a good thing anyway for people who spend around eight hours a day in front of a desk.
Another thing to get used to is getting in and out of the thing. While easy once you've got the hang of it, if you don't plan your first attempt well you may well end up sprawled or chasing the chair in a circle. Skirts are also another thing to get used to when using the chair.
I do however find that the further my pregnancy progresses, the more glad I am for the chair. With Ziggy already as big as ze is, I find several things uncomfortable about sitting in the typical 90o angle position: I find my blood circulation to my legs (and thus swelling in my feet) is better in my kneeling chair; I find my lower back is fine at the end of the day; I find my general posture is better (my shoulders are kind of forced straight and pulled back to maintain balance, but in a very natural feeling way); my belly isn't pushed against at all by the lap that forms when you sit in a normal chair which eases pressure on my stomach and lungs, a minor but growing issue with sitting normally.
If I did end up needing to have a c-section I imagine it will also be a lot easier sitting down with my thighs away from my abdomen, reducing the risk of accidentally pressing against a scar.
All in all I'm very happy with my purchase and can recommend a kneeling chair to anyone, pregnant or not; provided you get a decent deal like I did.