Prenatal exercise can definitely ease lower back pain. However, it's not as easy as it sounds.
Since every pregnancy is different, every woman is different and depending on where you are in your pregnancy, a routine that was effective during one pregnancy may not necessarily be the wisest course of action during the next pregnancy.
So let's take a look at 7 prenatal exercises that help relieve low back pain for pregnant women.
Prenatal Exercises for Lower Back
With these 7 prenatal exercises, you can effectively relieve your lower back pain while promoting overall strength and stability in your body.
#1 Bird Dog:
The Bird Dog is a great prenatal exercise for lower back pain because it stabilizes and strengthens the lower back, as well as your core.
Perform the following steps:
- Get on all fours.
- Keep your left hand where it is, and raise your right arm until it is parallel with the floor.
- At the same time, raise your left leg until it is parallel with the floor. Make sure to keep your hips and shoulders square (that is, don't twist).
- Hold this position for 30 seconds, then release and repeat on the opposite side.
#2 Pelvic tilts
These are small, yet effective isometric holds that help to alleviate lower back pain as well as strengthen and support the core-stabilizing muscles.
Although changes to your pelvic alignment occur throughout pregnancy, this exercise can help you to counterbalance the shift in the degree of your pelvic tilt by moving your pelvis forward to a more neutral position.
How to do a Pelvic Tilt:
- Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and about hip-width apart.
- Place the soles of your feet flat on the floor directly below your knees.
- Relax your shoulders and place your arms at your sides with palms facing up.
- Breathe in deeply through your nose and as you exhale, gently contract the abdominal muscles and press the small of your back into the floor.
- Hold for 3 deep breaths or 5 seconds, whichever comes first.
- Relax completely at the end of each contraction and breathe in deeply through your nose again before repeating for a total of 8–10 contractions.
Kegels are one of the best prenatal exercises to ease lower back pain. It helps to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which are crucial in childbirth and post-partum. Weak pelvic floor muscles can also increase your risk of bladder or bowel issues, so it's important to incorporate kegels into your daily routine.
To start the exercise:
- While you are tightening your pelvic floor muscles, think of this as drawing up and in as though you're attempting to stop the passage of urine or gas.
- Do 10 repetitions of this workout every day. After 10 reps, if you start to feel tired or sore, stop and relax for a few minutes before moving on to the next set of exercises.
Incorporating squats into your prenatal exercises will help get your leg muscles ready for the physical demands of pregnancy, labor, and motherhood. After all, it is a common birthing position.
For anyone suffering from lower back pain, exercise ball squats cushion this region and allow you to move through the motions with extra support.
To do squats:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- As though you were going to sit on a chair, bend your knees and move your hips backward.
- Maintain the position of your knees behind your toes.
- Return to the beginning position after bending only as far as you feel comfortable.
- Perform 10 repetitions.
#5 Glute Kickback
Glute kickbacks are great for pregnancy because they help your lower back and promote balance so you can feel more secure on your feet.
Here's how to do the glute kickback:
- Lower down onto a yoga mat on all fours, making sure your wrists are aligned with your shoulders and knees with your hips.
- Maintain a flat, straight back, running from the tip of your head and along the entirety of your spine.
- Move your weight to the right side, keeping your body stable and free of rotation at the shoulders and hips.
- Extend your left foot upwards (while keeping your knee bent at 90 degrees) before exhaling and fully extending the leg.
- Make sure your left hip isn't rotating up or out by keeping your foot in line with the glue.
#6 Wall Roll-Down
The wall roll-down is a Pilates practice that emphasizes moderate spine flexion while stretching your hamstrings. This prenatal exercise can help improve your overall posture, and therefore how you stand, sit, and carry yourself, alleviating strain across the body including your lower back.
To do this movement:
- Get a standing start and then lean against a wall to rest your spine.
- The distance between your feet and the wall should be roughly one foot.
- Put your lower back against the wall and relax.
- If your midback is significantly bent, the back of your head may not necessarily touch the wall.
- To get ready, take a deep breath.
- Exhale while nodding your head towards your chest and peeling each vertebra away from the wall in a 'c' shape in your spine.
- As you roll towards the floor, keep your arms heavy. Inhale while maintaining the position.
- As you roll back up to the starting position, exhale.
#7 Side Planks
The modified side plank tests your stability while also working the muscles on your side.
To do this:
- Lie on your left side and elevate yourself onto your left forearm to perform this modified variation of the side plank.
- Keep your shoulders, hips, and knees in alignment by placing your left shoulder directly over your left elbow.
- Rest your right arm against your body's side.
- Before lowering yourself to the ground, hold for a few seconds.
- Work your way up to 10 repetitions.
The exercises above are just a few of the best prenatal exercises that can help reduce lower back pain during pregnancy. Incorporating them along with your other prenatal exercise routines can be a great way to build strength, provide relief, and help prepare you for birth in the best possible way.
Poll : Have you tried these prenatal exercises?
Yes; they did help me a lot!
No, never did.