Back pain is something all women experience during pregnancy. There are a number of reasons why you experience back pain, starting from getting the baby nursery ready, the extra pressure you put on your body due to baby weight, and much more.
Lower back pain during pregnancy is more painful than ever. And as your tummy continues to grow, your body will be dealing with more and more stress.
Lower back pain and aching is not something you want to have at all times. The good news is with exercise during pregnancy, you can lower the back pain.
These are not some exercises that will help you lose weight or anything like that. Think more of stretches that are great when you need relief of back pain.
This is one of the best stretches and exercises for low back pain. Cat-cow will help you stretch the spinal cord and muscles. For many mothers to be, the stretch is their go-to exercise during pregnancy. It is a simple move, but provides you the best and deepest stretch.
Here is how to do it:
- Get on all fours on the floor, and make sure your head is in line with your back
- Start in a tabletop position, and round your back slightly while pulling in your stomach
- Hold this position for a few seconds, and then slowly relax your stomach muscles and lift your head and tailbone to create a small dip in the back
- Hold for a few seconds, and then go back to the tabletop position. Repeat 3-5 times for the best results
The ultimate yoga stretch. This is one exercise everyone should do it. There is not a single person who has ever done any workout that doesn’t know the child pose.
This stretch elongates the spine and helps to relieve any pressure on your surrounding nerves. Being that your stomach will grow during pregnancy, you will put more weight and pressure on the spine.
The child’s pose is a great way to stretch it out and relieve some of that pressure.
- Get on all fours, and open your knees wide apart
- Sit your butt back and down as low as you can, to the point you can relax your weight down and allow your back to round
- Stretch your arms all the way in front of you on the floor
- If the position feels uncomfortable with your baby belly, rest on bent elbows. Just make sure you feel the stretch through your spine and lower back
Standing pelvic tilt
At first glance, you might feel the exercise is rather awkward. But do not worry, it will feel great for your lower back pain.
- Stand up straight, and put your back against a wall
- Position your feet at shoulder-width apart
- Push the small of your back against the wall
- Hold for a few seconds, and then return to the starting position
Most of us have done torso rotation in high school during gym class. Now, that experience is valuable to keep your pregnancy low back pain in check.
The exercise will help you lengthen and stretch out the spine and any nerves on it.
- Sit on the floor, and cross your legs
- With your left hand, grab and hold your right foot
- Move your left hand behind you as you slowly open your upper body to the right
- Hold for several seconds, return to starting position, and then switch hands and repeat on the other side
Seated tick tocks
This exercise will not only help you stretch your body, but also strengthen your muscles. That will help you relieve back pain and get your body back into the routine of getting some workout done even as a mother.
- Sit in a comfortable seated position. Cross your legs and lean over to one side with your arms extended overhead
- Feel the stretch on one side of your back, and contract the other
- Hold the stretch for a brief moment, inhale deeply, and then exhale as you contract the elongated side and return to the center
- Stretch to the other side and repeat several times
Is it safe to exercise during pregnancy?
Women who are healthy, and have normal pregnancy, should not fear of safety during pregnancy. It is completely safe to continue or start most types of exercise. You do, however, may need to make a few changes.
While physical exercise does not increase the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, or early delivery, it is crucial that you talk with your obstetrician or other member of the healthcare team during early prenatal visits.
If your health care professional says that it is OK and safe for you to exercise, you can devise together a plan and routine that fits your needs, but it is also safe.
When it is not safe to exercise?
There are certain conditions that can make exercise during pregnancy unsafe. If you have any of the following conditions, avoid exercise, as it may cause complications:
- Heart and lung disease
- Cervical insufficiency or cerclage
- Being pregnant with twins or triplets
- Placenta previa after 26 weeks of pregnancy
- Severe anemia
- Pregnancy-induced high blood pressure
- Ruptured membranes during pregnancy
Benefits of exercise during pregnancy
Regular exercise during pregnancy can be beneficial for both you and your future baby.
Here are all the benefits:
- Reduces back pain
- Promotes healthy weight gain during pregnancy
- Improves overall fitness level
- Strengthen your heart and blood vessels
- Eases constipation
- Reduces risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia
- Helps you lose baby weight after the baby is born
How much should you exercise?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions. Future mothers always ask “How much should I exercise during pregnancy”?
The answer is complicated, as every pregnancy and every person is unique.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that pregnant women get at least 15 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity during the week.
Aerobic activity is the one where you move large muscles of the body, including legs and arms in a rhythmic way. Moderate intensity means you are moving enough to raise your heart rate and start sweating.
What can affect your exercise routine?
Pregnancy is a complicated period for you and your body. You need to understand that your body will go through a lot of changes during pregnancy.
- Due to hormonal changes, the ligaments that support your joints will become relaxed. This makes the joints more mobile and puts them at a higher risk of injury. Therefore, avoid bouncy and high-impact motions
- The extra weight you put on during pregnancy will shift your center of gravity. Your balance will be changed, putting extra stress on joints and muscles, especially in the pelvis and low back area. Be careful, you are at higher risk of falling
- When you exercise, oxygen and blood flow are directed to the muscles. However, during pregnancy, the need for oxygen will increase, making breathing harder and more challenging
With everything said so far, it is important that you understand that exercise during pregnancy is great, as long as you put yours and your baby’s safety first.
Here are a couple of precautions to ensure that.
- Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout. You do not want to be dehydrated
- Wear a sports bra that will give support and protect your breasts
- As you go further into pregnancy, you need belly support belt that can reduce discomfort while walking or running
- Avoid becoming overheated, especially in the first three months of your pregnancy
- Wear loose-fitting clothing
- Always exercise in a temperature-controlled rom
- Avoid standing still or lying flat on your back as much as possible