Back pain during pregnancy is a common complaint and it’s no wonder. All pregnant women suffer from back ache. This is largely to the excessive load they have to carry along with their own increasing weight. You’re gaining weight, you’re walking in a new way, and your hormones are relaxing the muscles and ligaments throughout your body.
Your back may be one of the major areas where you’ll notice the ache. Regular stretching and exercise help offset these effects by improving flexibility, strength, muscle tone, and reducing the incidence of lower back pain. Try some of the following exercises and gentle stretches to alleviate back pain.
The Best Exercises for Back Pain in Pregnancy
The following are suggested exercises for each of the major muscle groups mentioned:
- Get on your hands and knees as if you are going to scrub a floor. Lift your right arm up to the sky, so that it is level with your back, and at the same time, lift your left leg as high as you can, but no higher than the level of your hips. Hold this balancing posture for a second, without compressing your lower back. Do the same thing with the left arm and right leg. Keep alternating for 10 to 15 repetitions. This exercise helps strengthen the abdominal, shoulder and gluteal muscles. Please note: Make sure nobody can see you because they may laugh!
- Arm and Leg Raises (for back muscles and buttock): Kneel on your hands and knees with a straight spine. Do a pelvic tilt to keep your pelvis stable and then lift your right arm and left leg to form a straight line with your spine. Pause in this position and then slowly lower your arm and leg. Alternate lifting the opposite arm and leg. If you have difficulty keeping your balance in this position, modify the exercise by performing only the leg or arm raises separately.
- Pelvic tilts strengthen abdominal muscles (and will make many labor positions easier). Get on your hands and knees with your head in line with your back. Arch your back upward, hold for several seconds, then relax. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
- Kegels exercise the pelvic floor muscles. Locate your pelvic floor muscles. (A good time to do this is while sitting on the toilet; your pelvic floor muscles stop the flow of urine.) With your bladder empty, tighten these muscles, count to five, then release. Repeat 10 times.
- Lie on your back and perform mini-situps, keeping your knees bent to reduce the stress on your back. Lift your head and torso six inches from the ground and hold it for a second. Repeat this 10 to 15 times. This will help strengthen the lower back. Be careful not to pull up on your head as you lift as this would strain your neck. You have enough to deal with, without adding neck pain to the mix!
There are several back pain exercises during pregnancy. But all of them have to be indulged in carefully and with utmost regard to your own health and that of the baby.