Nagging back pain is a common pregnancy complaint. But just because most pregnant women will experience this annoying symptom starting in their second trimester, doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything you can do about it. Most pregnant women experience some degree of back pain because as their baby and belly grows, the curve of the lower back becomes more drastic (called lordosis). Combine that more exaggerated curve with the stretching of the abdominal muscles as the belly expands and it’s no wonder your back is feeling a little achy. While there are a number of remedies you can try to alleviate back pain, the best course of action is to try to prevent it from occurring in the first place. How you ask? Building a strong core through exercises that target the back, abdominal, and pelvic floor muscles is your best course of action. Here are 5 exercises you can perform to help prevent pregnancy back pain:
(for the back, butt, and hamstrings) To perform the deadlift, start with a loaded barbell on the ground standing with feet hip with apart. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and bend your knees and lower your butt until your shins are touching the bar and you can grab onto it with both hands with arms just outside your legs. Your back should be at approximately a 45 degree angle. From this position, stand up by driving your heels into the ground and squeezing your butt until you are fully upright. Do not bend your arms. To complete the movement and return to the starting position, bend at the hips sending your butt backwards and bend your knees to lower the bar back down to the ground keeping the bar close to your body the whole time.
2. Good Mornings
(for the back, butt, and hamstrings) Either from a rack or from the ground get a barbell onto your shoulders. With hands just a little outside the shoulders squeeze your shoulder blades together elbows pointing towards the ground. Stand with feet hip width apart. Keeping your core tight, bend at the hips sending your butt backwards. Keep your back flat and only allow a slight bend of the knees. Try to get your back as close to parallel as you can without compromising your back. To come up, Squeeze your butt and stand up to return to the starting position.
3. Bent Over Rows
(for the upper back) Stand with feet hip width apart, knees slightly bent and back at a 45 degree angle. Holding dumbbells or a barbell, squeeze your shoulder blades together and draw your elbows back pulling the weights up towards your torso. Then, lower the weights to return to the starting position.
4. Pelvic Tilts
(for the abdominal muscles) There are several ways to perform the pelvic tilt but the easiest is lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. In this position, you will notice that there is a small space between your lower back and the floor. To perform the tilt, think about trying to close this space by flattening the lower part of your back against the floor. Make sure, however, that you are not engaging your butt muscles. Your butt should stay relaxed in order to isolate the abdominal muscles. Once you master this version of the pelvic tilt you can perform them while standing, sitting, or on your hands and knees.
(for the pelvic floor muscles) Oh kegels…No woman likes to do them but kegels are an effective exercise for strengthening your pelvic floor which works together with your abdominal and back muscles to support your entire torso. Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles is also important for preventing incontinence. To perform a kegel, try to imagine that you are stopping your pee midstream. You can also think abut pulling the muscles of your vagina area up and in. You should not feel your butt or abdominal muscles tighten as you perform the kegel.