Dr. Harry Lockstadt of Bluegrass Orthopaedics in Lexington, Ky., reports that 80 percent of pregnant patients experience some degree of localized back pain. Back pain encompasses a wide range of symptoms, the specific causes of which are not always clear. During pregnancy, however, pain is usually a result of increased weight gain and poor posture. Hormonal fluctuations can also loosen the ligaments of the lower back. Gentle stretching helps to alleviate the pain.
The diagonal curl tones the muscles of the back, hips and abdomen. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologist (ACOG) doesn’t recommend this exercise if you have not been previously active. To perform the diagonal curl, sit on the floor with your knees bent. Clasp your hands together. Twist to the side so that your hands touch the floor. Alternate from side to side five times.
The forward bend strengthens the lower back muscles. Sit in a chair with your feet touching the floor. Bend forward slowly with your arms relaxed in front of your legs. Hold the position for five seconds and then slowly roll back. Do not perform this exercise if you experience abdominal pain.
The back press strengthens the back, torso and upper body muscles. It also promotes good posture. Stand with your back against a wall with your feet 10 to 12 inches in front of you. Press your lower back flat against the wall and hold it for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
Upper Body Bends
Upper body bends strengthen your back and torso muscles. Stand with your feet apart and knees slightly bent. Put your hands on your hips and bend forward slowly while keeping your upper back straight. You should feel a pull on your upper thigh muscles. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
This exercise stretches and tones the muscles of your back, pelvis and thighs. Kneel on your hands and knees with your hands stretched straight under your shoulders. Space your knees 8 to 10 inches apart. Curl backward slowly while tucking your head toward your knees. Keep your arms straight in front of you. Repeat five times.
Rocking Back Arch
The rocking back arch strengthens the back, hip and abdomen muscles. Start in a similar position as the backward stretch. Rock back and forth five times; arch your back as high as you can. Repeat five times.
Leg Lift Crawl
This exercise strengthens your back and abdominal muscles. Kneel on your hands and knees. Lift the knee of one leg and bring it forward to your elbow. Straighten your leg without arching your back. Alternate legs five to 10 times.
The trunk twist stretches the back and upper torso muscles. Sit on the floor with your legs crossed in front of you. Grasp your right foot with your right hand and gently twist your torso. Alternate with your other hand and foot, and repeat the exercise five to 10 times.
Contact your health-care provider if you suffer severe, persistent pain. Back pain might be a symptom of another, more serious problem, such as preterm labor. Your provider can evaluate your symptoms and give you further advice on how to relieve back pain during pregnancy.
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