Back Pain During Pregnancy
50% of low back pain in pregnant women is due to lumbar lordosis, otherwise known as swayback. As you move into the 2nd and 3rd trimesters, the abdominal muscles are stretched and lose their ability to effectively maintain neutral posture. Although back pain is common during pregnancy and postpartum, some muscle imbalances happen chronically over time, over years.
Imagine the load the spine has to take as the belly grows. Without the strength of the surrounding muscles, back pain is inevitable. And without stretching the muscles cannot adapt as your body changes.
So it is equally important you stretch and strengthen you lower, middle and upper back. More specifically you want to:
Strengthen - abdominals, muscles along the spine, upper back and hip extensors
Stretch - lower-middle-upper back, hip flexors and chest
Use this simple move for the transverse abdominis to start combating back pain right now! Then follow the back pain exercises and stretches both during pregnancy and postpartum - you will find these at the bottom of this article. Or use our Prenatal Workout videos for a full fitness program.
Supporting your belly and your new boobs
With your increase in weight and the fact that you are "frontloaded" you may begin to experience even greater soreness. If your boobs double and triple in size you may get even more back pain, and pain during exercise. Your core muscles act as a back brace, so back and abdominal strengthening is key.
Back pain after pregnancy
Postpartum back pain is somewhat common. As a new mother, your ligaments and joints are still recovering from the stretching that your baby in utero forced them to undergo. Add the sensitivity of these overworked parts to the increased lifting, twisting, and sometimes awkward cradling that motherhood calls for (sometimes the position that baby falls asleep in, mom stays in, regardless of mom’s comfort!), and a soreness and tension in the shoulders, back, and hips is guaranteed.
Regardless of what you did while pregnant, it is so important to re-connect with your Transverse Abdominis and the deep abdominals that supported your pregnancy. This will combat back pain. Then use the pregnancy and postpartum exercises below.
You can also turn to a postpartum fitness program designed specifically to get your body healthy again. My Postnatal Slimdown program has 5 progressive core workouts, plus 10 full body workouts, to work your body back to healthy and strong.
Overall, simple postural cues and keeping a neutral spine position throughout daily activities will take you a long way! Simply using the stomach muscles will immediately lessen the strain on your back.
Along with bending at the knees instead of the hips when lifting, you should also consider switching sides each time you feed or hold your child, whether whether you are nursing or bottle-feeding.
It is key to check your foot alignment, because if foot alignment is askew, it can throw off the knees, the hips, the back, the shoulders, and the neck. Specifically, look for pronated feet (they roll inwards) or supinated feet (they roll outwards) when you walk or jog. We go over these topics and so much more in my Prenatal & Postnatal Fitness Certification.
Prenatal & Postnatal Back Exercises & Stretches