Back pain is no laughing matter for expectant mothers. Nearly every woman is affected by lumbar pain at some point during pregnancy, a pain that can limit mobility and put a damper on the pregnancy experience.
The physical changes in your pregnant body contribute to the propensity for lumbar pain. As the uterus expands upward out of the pelvis, the weight of the growing baby causes the body's center of gravity to shift upward and forward. To compensate for the shift in center of gravity, the pelvis tilts forward, causing the low back to arch in a swayback curve, called a lordosis. The pelvic tilt shortens the lumbar muscles, causing them to tighten and increasing the likelihood of a painful spasm. The joints between the vertebrae in lumbar spine lose mobility due to the muscles tightness, creating an achy stiffness in the lower back.
While the physical changes during pregnancy are inevitable, low back pain doesn't have to be. Here is a simple sequence of exercises that will help you ward off lumbar discomfort throughout pregnancy and beyond:
1. Forward Bends
Standing with feet wider than your hips to make room for your belly, inhale as you take your arms out to the sides and up overhead, then exhale as you bend forward from the waist and release the head and hands toward the floor. Hang there for three deep breaths, then inhale to lift your chest to straighten your spine, squeezing the shoulder blades together to flatten the back. Exhale to release back into the forward bend. Inhale back up to flat back, exhale and release. Repeat 10 times.
2. Standing Pelvic Rocking
From the Forward Bend, roll up slowly to stand, keeping the knees bent and placing your hands on your thighs above the knees. Inhale to lift your chin and your tailbone upward back behind you. Exhale to tuck your tailbone under while you drop your gaze to look at the knees. Repeat 10 times with slow and controlled breaths.
3. Tail wagging
Slowly make your way down to hands and knees. Inhale deeply to begin. As you exhale, look over your right shoulder, moving the shoulder toward the hip and the hip toward the shoulder. Inhale back to center and exhale to the left. Repeat 10 times on each side with slow and controlled breaths.
4. Child's Pose
From hands and knees position, open your knees wide, then sit back toward your heels, keeping the arms outstretched in front of you. Breath 10 deep breaths in this delightful resting position. Practice your pelvic floor (Kegel) exercises while you rest in child's pose.
Follow the sequence in the video below. For best results, repeat this sequence two or three times throughout the day.