By Jaime Wooten, AFFA, CPT Prenatal/Postnatal Health and Fitness Educator
One of the most common complaints I hear from my pregnant clients is “my lower back is killing me.”
The relaxin hormone and a growing uterus are to blame, but there are exercises to help ease the pain!
1. Pelvic Tilt
Lying on your back with arms are at your sides, bend your knees so that your finger tips are almost touching your ankles. Inhale and press your lower back to the floor. Exhale and tilt the pelvis to create space between the floor and repeat. It is a small but powerful movement that can bring big results. Try 1-20 reps working up to 3 sets of twenty, 3 times a day.
2. Yoga Cat Cow
From an all fours table position, open your hands wide like a starfish. Have your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Inhale Cow; make a hammock with your back, gaze is up towards the sky. Exhale Cat; arch your spine like a scaredy-cat, gaze down towards the floor. Work up to 15 breathes.
3. Table with Opposite Arm and Opposite Leg
While in your all four position check your alignment for wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. Extend and raise your leg to hip height, be sure to flex your foot, and make sure your hips are square and even. Then, add your arm extending forward like you are shaking hands with thumb extending towards the sky. Be sure not to go above shoulder height. Inhale back to your original table starting position, then exhale your opposite arm and opposite leg to the extended position. Switch sides and repeat 10-12 reps.
Note: if you have any tingling in the hands or wrists you can modify any all-fours exercise by making fists with your hands.
Remember to continue core strengthening exercises when you are pregnant. Yoga is a fantastic way to build core strength and relieve back pain. After 20 weeks you can still do crunches but do them on a ball or slanted surface (3 risers and a step, head is above heart). Three minutes is the rule for exercising on your back when pregnant. Remember to roll to your left and take a break for circulation purposes.
Please consult your doctor or midwife before beginning any prenatal exercise program. These exercises were designed for low-risk pregnancies.
Finally, one last tip: purchasing a pre-natal support belt can also bring great relief to your lower back. Try one on and you will know right away if this will work for you. It is not a gimmick, but amazing, drug-free relief of back pain.
About the Author:
Jaime Wooten, AFFA CPT blends her background as a mother to two girls and over 20 years as a certified fitness professional to assist her clients through this unique time of their lives. You can reach her at Jaime@fitnessadvantagetrainer.com