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Dealing With Lower Back Pain during Pregnancy Through Exercise

Beautiful pregnant woman gym fitness exerciseEverything changes when you’re pregnant — your diet, your body shape, your moods, your cravings — and it can be overwhelming. Just about the time you get over those daily panic attacks about the burgeoning waistline and new internal jerks and jolts, you develop something new: Lower back pain.

The American Pregnancy Association, an organization dedicated to supporting women with education and resources for a healthier pregnancy, estimates that more than half of all women experience some level of back pain during pregnancy. Some studies report as many as 80 percent of pregnant women suffer from back pain, especially in the later stages of gestation.

Strengthening the muscles and the soft tissue around the spine reduces stress, relieves pain and protects your back from injury. The APA suggests you always squat to pick up things from the floor, sleep flat on your back and wear a support belt around your lower abdomen to lessen flare-ups and injuries. Daily exercise is also important to maintain a healthy weight.

These easy exercises will help you relieve the pressure from your growing bundle of joy and skip the daily aches and pains.

Walking

A thirty minute walk every day is beneficial for the overall body. Wear good quality shoes to prevent shin splints and foot pain. Buying a new pair? Go shopping in the evening when your feet are more likely to be swollen for the best fit. There are several companies that make great shoes for pregnant walkers. Dansko.com offers women fun colors and styles in comfortable, super-shock-absorbing packages (like the Dansko Elise in the Sedona Collection) to protect feet and spine from shock.

Kegel Exercises

Kegels strengthen the pelvic floor, diverting pressure from the spine. Stand straight or lie flat on the floor. Try to lift the muscle in the vaginal area upwards without tightening muscles in the thigh, abs or buttock. Hold in the “up” position for ten seconds and release. Repeat 10 times, at least twice per day.

Wall Squats

This exercise is great for your back, plus it targets the abdominal girdle, thighs and buttocks. Stand against a wall. With your head, back and both shoulders flat against it. Move your feet about 12-18 inches away from the wall. Slowly slide down the wall like you are going to sit on an invisible chair. When you reach the imaginary chair seat, slowly return to a standing position. Start with 10 reps and work up to 30 every other day.

When to Be Cautious

Exercise during pregnancy is good for you and the baby, but you shouldn’t tackle a rigorous workout unless you worked out regularly before you got pregnant.

One recommendation from Mayoclinic.com is to start slowly and work up to 30 minutes almost every day. If you need help figuring out how to do healthy spine exercises, Laser Spine Institute offers lots of videos you can watch. You can also learn more about back health on the Laser Spine Institute LinkedIn page. Always consult your doctor before undergoing any new exercise routine.

What to Avoid

Not all exercise is good for your baby. Avoid lifting heavy weights and lying on your stomach to do exercises during pregnancy. Recommendations from virtualmedicalcentre.com say women should avoid exercises performed laying on their backs after the first trimester because is could restrict blood flow to the baby. And although water sports are great, scuba diving is not recommended during pregnancy.

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