*Always check with your doctor to make sure it is ok for you to exercise. Being active during pregnancy is very important but may not be best for some women who may have a high risk pregnancy or other health concerns.
Low back pain is a common problem among pregnant women. That little love inside just keeps growing and growing making things ache and hurt a little more than they used to. A lot of times during pregnancy women develop whats called Lordosis. Lordosis is when your lumbar (lower) spine becomes exaggerated. This is commonly seen in pregnant women because of weight gain primarily in the tummy.
Usually the thought is when someone has back pain, their back is weak and needs to be strengthened. While your back may be weak, its not necessarily the cause of your pain. In most cases its actually your abdominals that need to be strengthened! Your abdominals act as a support belt for your spine. If your abdominals are weak, you have less support, resulting in pain in your back. It can be super frustrating and make you feel as if you shouldn’t do anything! Instead of being less active or using a back brace to ease the pain, try these simple and effective exercises that help strengthen your core, aka “natures support belt.”
Hugging Your Baby
Why: Hugging your baby is the way we say brace or tighten your core during pregnancy. Hugging your baby can be done almost anywhere and helps teach you how to engage your core while pregnant and is also totally safe for you and your baby.
How: This can be done standing but here I will show you on your hands and knees. Your hands should be right underneath your shoulders, knees underneath your hips. Take a deep breath in and let your stomach fill up with air. Now exhale, pushing the air out and tightening your abdominals. Here we say you are drawing your baby up and in! This is hugging your baby. Try this 10 times!
Why: Cat cow is a great stretch for the low back and abdominal muscles plus its basically an upside down crunch! So you are also working your core as long as it is properly engaged.
How: Start on your hands and knees with hands beneath your shoulders again. Curl your back up like a halloween cat, then go right into the cow by pushing your stomach down towards the ground and butt up in the air. Make sure you are keeping your core engaged here as well. If at any point you feel yourself become unengaged, stop the exercise. Try this 10 times.
Why: This one is great for strengthening the core and low back plus engaging a few other muscles such as the glutes and even the shoulders. This exercise is also great for balance which is thrown off quite a bit during pregnancy.
How: Start on your hands and knees, engage your core and sync your breathing with the movement. Bring the opposite arm and leg up together and hold just 1 second then back down and switch to the other side. Try this 10 times.
Now these exercises will not work just after one time! If you do feel a little better, thats great! Keep doing these exercises a few times a week. In time you will strengthen your core and in turn should start to feel some relieve from pain.
I hope these exercises help you have a more comfortable pregnancy and strengthen your core which is so important during this time! If you’d like to learn more about strengthening your core and other muscles during pregnancy, check out my other blog posts! Safely strengthen your abdominals during pregnancy , 15 minute pregnancy workout and 3 exercises you need to be doing during pregnancy.