4 Activities to Relieve Pregnancy Back Pain
by Kate HorneyPre & Postnatal Fitness Specialist
Back pain during pregnancy is a common struggle that occurs later in pregnancy as your baby grows. Studies show that 50% of women experience pregnancy back pain. As pregnancy progresses, your hormones are relaxing the ligaments in the joints of your pelvis, and your center of gravity changes as you gain weight. These factors together often lead to back pain, but the good news is that there are a few ways to ease or prevent back pain during pregnancy.
First and foremost, staying active during pregnancy is key.
Here are 4 Activities to Relieve
Pregnancy Back Pain:
Strengthening exercises to help build the muscles that support your back and legs, including your abdominal muscles keep low back pain minimal. I encourage pregnant moms to aim for 3 weight training sessions per week and focus on using weights with good form.
When you’re strength training during pregnancy, be sure that you don’t flatten your lower back or arch your spine, or allow the spine to wobble or twist during any exercises. If needed, don’t be afraid to lower the resistance or weight as pregnancy progresses. Never sacrifice good form just to lift heavier weights. Take plenty of rests as needed throughout your workout and remember to stay hydrated!
Stretching exercises to help the muscles that support the back and legs become more flexible. Be careful to stretch gently, because stretching too quickly or too much can put further strain on your joints, which have been made loser by pregnancy. Prenatal yoga is one good way to stay limber, and it can help improve your balance, too. Here are a few of the best yoga poses during pregnancy to improve strength and stability:
- Cat + Cow – Stretches the spine and helps teach mindful breathing
- Mountain – Strengthens legs, feet, and ankles, and brings awareness and mindful breathing
- Warrior 2 – Strengthens legs, improves circulation, and opens hips.
- Low Lunge – Stretches the psoas muscle to decrease back pain.
- Child’s Pose – Passively stretches back torso muscles while also stretching hips and thighs.
If you’re not feeling up to a full workout, at the very least you should get out and walk. I love leisurely walks and try to move 30-60 minutes almost daily. It’s low impact and easy to make part of your daily routine.
For lumbar pain, try doing pelvic tilts, which can ease back pain by stretching your muscles and, over time, strengthening them as well. Here’s how:
- Get on your hands and knees, arms shoulder-width apart and knees hip-width apart.
- Keep your arms straight, but don’t lock the elbows.
- Tuck your buttocks under and round your back as you breathe in.
- Relax your back into a neutral position as you breathe out.
- Repeat at your own pace.
Remember to pay attention to your body first and foremost. I always recommend the following precautions for pregnant women:
- Do not start anything new without first checking with your doctor or midwife.
- Be sure to get clearance from your doctor before starting this workout program.
- Wear comfortable clothes and stable supportive athletic sneakers.
- Be sure to hydrate before, during, and after exercise. Avoid excessive sweating which can lead to dehydration.
- Be sure to eat a small meal within 30 minutes of training to avoid low blood sugar levels.
- Listen to your body. If you need rest, then REST!