At some stage during pregnancy, most women complain of aches, pains or niggles somewhere along the spine. Sometimes it’s the upper or mid back that suffers as baby grows and the spine takes the brunt of the weight, or sometimes it’s poor posture, rounded ‘computer’ shoulders, or tension in the neck/shoulder region that is to blame. These can often be worked out with some simple chest and shoulder opening stretches.
However, it’s the lower back ache, around the lumber curve or down into the sacrum that tends to be the most common ailment in pregnancy. Again the weight of growing baby is often an attributary factor while weak core muscles, a previous back issue or a toddler to tend to while pregnant are also the leading stories I hear from clients.
So what can you do?
Of course, generally, and especially during pregnancy we want to avoid the pharmaceutical short-term relief from pills and look to stretch the muscles of the back and build strength in both back and core.
During pregnancy, start with some stretches….
- Go gently. Explore what feels ok for you and your body. Micro-movements (those small hip and spine movements on all fours) can really help to get things moving, bringing fluidity to the spine.
- Check your posture. Roll those shoulders back; expand across the collar bones. Then align the base of your body; thighs rotate inwards and the tailbone lengthens down into that space. This applies when seated or standing.
- Too much sitting will tighten the psoas muscle and pull on the back muscles. Walk, swim, dance. Do YOGA!
- Rest up. Restorative yoga poses are wonderful for opening the body, safely, with alignment, and as their name suggests, you can just chill out in them too. Light a candle, add some music and close your eyes for 15-20 minutes. Bliss!
- DIAMOND POSE: spine resting along the bolster at a 45 degree angle. Support for head if needed. Feet can be in cobblers pose. Add cushions under thighs/knees if hips are feeling a little tight. This is my go-to whenever the back starts to niggle. Pregnant or otherwise.
- CHILD’S POSE: bolster at a 45 degree angle, then cushions to support chest and head. Ensure enough space for baby and cushion support if needed.