Exercise for Back Pain During Pregnancy
Back pain is a common pregnancy ailment, and finding relief can be elusive for many women. Practicing select exercises can offer comfort during a particularly challenging physical state.
Back pain is common during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester when your growing belly is pulling your body out of alignment and your joints are loosening in preparation for labor. Stretching and strengthening exercises for the abdomen, pelvic floor, buttocks and thighs, as well as the back, can help reduce and prevent back pain. Exercises also can increase your energy and help prepare you for labor.
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.
Arm and Leg Raises
Arm and leg raises strengthen the back and buttocks. Perform a single pelvic tilt, then lift your right arm and left leg simultaneously to form a straight line with your spine. Maintain this position for several seconds. Lower your arm and leg and repeat with the opposite arm and leg.
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.
This exercises the abdominal muscles, buttocks and thighs. Stand with your back against a wall and your feet shoulder-width apart. Slide down the wall until you're in a sitting position with your knees above your toes. Hold this position for several seconds, then slide back up. Repeat 10 times.
Tailor sitting strengthens the back, thighs and pelvis, and can improve your posture. Sit on the floor with your back straight and bring the bottoms of your feet together, with your toes pointed in front of you. Let your knees drop as flat as they comfortably can, but don't press or bounce them.
Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy; Roger W. Harms, M.D., Robert V. Johnson, M.D., Mary M. Murry. C.N.M.; 2004