Being pregnant brings immense joy, but it also brings some difficulties that some of us must face. There will be days when you might feel low or feel chronic aches. But you need not worry; this is part of the process.
There are various effective ways to ease the pain. This article talks about how you can reduce back pain with some easy prenatal exercises that you can perform at home.
A research paper shows that keeping your body moving during pregnancy is essential. Many believe that working out brings pain to the body. However, proper exercise will never give you pain; it can reduce your pain drastically.
Pain in the lower back is quite common in all pregnant women. It is due to the increase in weight, changes in the centre of gravity, and hormonal changes.
Exercising while Pregnant
Being pregnant might bring some complications and a feeling that one needs to take things easy. On the other hand, you might start getting tired quickly, or you might suffer from pain often. Therefore, this could make you think you need to rest and relax.
However, even if it’s an oxymoron, exercising is not opposed to relaxation. You feel more relaxed if you stay active and exercise daily. If you don’t exercise, your body will become stiff, increasing your pain instead of decreasing it.
Let’s take a look at the reason for common back pains. Pregnant women tend to face back pain very often. Also, as your baby grows, the weight is heavier on the front. As such, you tend to bend backward even when you usually stand. You might think it’s the correct way, but actually, this is what majorly causes back pain.
Since you are bending backward, the weight gets shifted to your back. It causes stress in your backbones and doing that more often could lead to pain. Apart from the exercises, it would help if you incorporated a few daily habits to reduce the pain. According to a study, exercises reduce stress during these days.
The HealthifyMe Note
Massage and self-care practices can help more than you think. It not only provides short-term comfort but is very effective in reducing pain in the long term.
So you should go for regular back massages. You can also try applying a heating pad or ice pack to your back. However, please consult a healthcare expert or fitness coach if it persists.
Exercises to Reduce Lower Back Pain
Now let’s talk about how you can reduce back pain with a few simple exercises. These exercises are easy to understand and do at home. These exercises do not require any equipment. You can easily practice these exercises at home.
Here are a few simple exercises for reducing lower back pain:
Lower Back Stretches
People also know the exercise as cat camel or cat-cow.
It is essential to start a workout with a little bit of stretching. You must keep stretching your lower back. It helps soothe the pain. Although, it is essential to note that you need not overstretch. It would help if you were cautious and gentle while doing the exercises. The exercise works more on the mid-back.
Follow the below steps to do the exercise:
- Sit on your knees with your feet at the back.
- Rest your hands, palms facing the ground, on the floor.
- Make sure your back is completely straight.
- Slowly pull your stomach upwards, arching your back outwards.
- Stay in this position for 10 seconds and then return to the original position.
- Make sure that you do not let the weight bend the back downwards.
- Repeat these steps for ten repetitions.
The glute bridge is a beneficial exercise for lower back pain. Additionally, it helps increase the core strength. This exercise is also helpful in improving your posture, which you need to be very conscious about.
Follow the below steps for this exercise:
- Lay down on your back.
- Bend your knees and place the foot flat on the ground.
- Relax the body in this position for 5 seconds.
- Next, push the pelvis region upwards toward the ceiling.
- It will help if you pull your belly button towards your spine.
- Once you have the position, hold it for 5 seconds.
- Now very slowly drop your pelvis region back to the ground.
- Make sure that you do not jerk in any part of the process. It would help if you were very gentle and careful.
- Repeat these steps for ten repetitions.
The squat is a very well-known exercise. You might have already heard about it. Typically squats help you lose weight and strengthen your abdominal muscles, bones, and ligaments around the leg muscles.
Wall Squats work in the same way. The only difference is that you have to take the wall as a support. Being pregnant brings a lot of uneven weight, which might cause an imbalance more often. You can take the wall as support to prevent it from being imbalanced.
On a supported wall squat, follow the below steps:
- First, stand straight with very little distance from the wall.
- Keep your feet shoulder-width apart. Also, this means your left foot should be below your left shoulder and your right foot below your right shoulder.
- Place your palms (facing downwards) on the wall.
- Gently lean back to the wall and place your back and buttocks fixed to the wall.
- Now move your body downwards, bending your knees.
- Make sure to bend until the knee forms a 90-degree angle, i.e., your upper thigh should be parallel to the floor.
- Hold this position for 2 seconds and pull yourself up, keeping in contact with the wall.
- Make sure to be against the wall throughout the process.
- Repeat these steps for ten repetitions.
Bird Dog Pose
The bird dog pose works on the core and glutes. The back is a supporting muscle in this pose. This exercise increases core stability and creates a sense of balance in the body. This exercise includes gentle movements of arms and legs, yet it is very powerful.
Before getting into the steps, it is essential to note that if you have never done balancing exercises before, this might look challenging. But you do not have to worry; everybody starts with wobbly feet and eventually finds balance. If you feel imbalanced or feel like you might fall, take support from your arm or foot and start again.
So keep that in mind and start the following steps:
- First, sit on your knees with your feet tugged below the hips.
- Next, place your palm (facing down) on the floor.
- Start in a comfortable position with your back straight. Pay close attention to your back during the process and ensure it is always straight.
- Bring your left arm forward and place it parallel to the floor.
- Keep this position, slowly raising your right leg backwards and parallel to the floor.
- It would help if you held your position for 2 seconds. Try not to be wobbly or do not rock your body. It would help if you kept it very still for the hold.
- Now bring back the arm and leg.
- Do the same for your right arm and left leg.
- Repeat the steps for ten repetitions on each side.
As the name suggests, this exercise focuses on strengthening the gluteal muscles. The glutes are the strongest muscle in the human body. This muscle is responsible for various movements like running, climbing, walking up the stairs, picking up heavy objects, and much more. Strengthening these muscles can also help improve body posture, balance, sitting, and standing. It is a straightforward exercise.
The steps to be followed are:
- Sit on your knees with your feet tugged below the hips.
- Place your palm (facing down) on the floor.
- Keep the back straight.
- Slightly shift the weight to the left side without bending or twisting the body.
- Push out the right leg and make it go up till the upper thigh is parallel to the floor.
- Keep this position for two seconds, and bring the leg back to the floor.
- Do the same for the left side shifting your weight to the right this time.
- During the complete exercise, ensure you do not bend any body part.
- Repeat the steps for ten iterations on both sides.
Wall Roll Down
The Wall Roll Down exercise is a modified version of the standard roll down. This exercise activates the abdominal area. It also relaxes the neck and shoulders and stretches the spine properly. In addition, it improves balance and promotes posture alignment. This exercise is also very useful in relieving stress.
During this exercise, the body is upside down. It promotes more blood circulation towards the head and face. It brings a glow to your face as well.
Steps for this exercise:
- Stand with your back facing the wall.
- Move your arm upwards and give the body a slight pull upwards.
- Slowly move your hand, followed by your head and upper body, to bring them downwards while exhaling as you gradually move down.
- Make sure you don’t lose contact with the wall on your legs.
- Go down until you feel that no part of your back is anymore touching the wall.
- Hold this position for 2 seconds, and slowly breathe as you move back up.
- Repeat this for ten repetitions.
This exercise is an effortless way to stretch as part of the workout routine. It will also help strengthen your oblique muscles.
The steps you can follow are:
- Sit in the cross-legged position.
- Make sure to sit with a straight back.
- Put your right hand on your right knee and your left hand on the left side of the floor.
- Slowly turn your upper body towards the left side, keeping the back straight.
- Keep this position for 5 seconds.
- Now come back to the original position and continue with the right side.
- Do ten repetitions on each side.
These were a few elementary but essential exercises to reduce back pain. You might have noticed that you need no additional equipment for all the activities. Please do not use extra weights or fitness balls.
This routine is curated so that you can easily do these exercises independently. However, if you have any ailments or just not feeling your physical best, do not exercise till you speak to your doctor. On the other hand, doing these exercises regularly is essential if you are having a smooth pregnancy.
There are a few critical points you need to take care of. Inculcating these changes in your lifestyle can immensely help. It will reduce chronic pain and discomfort. Here are a few tips on habits you must avoid or change during pregnancy.
Practice Good Posture
During pregnancy, as your child grows, the forward weight increases. To balance that and avoid back strain, keep your body straight while standing instead of leaning backwards. It will help reduce your back pain.
Try to practice sitting and standing straight and tall, keeping the shoulders relaxed. Also, you do not lock your knees while sitting. Keep your legs at a comfortable distance. If you have a job which requires sitting at a stretch, you may get a footstool and keep your legs outstretched. If you feel tight around your calf muscle, try rotating your feet clockwise and anti-clockwise, and you will immediately feel better.
Use Proper Lifting Technique
When you want to lift something, do not bend down to lift it like you usually do. It will again cause strain on your back. Instead, you need to sit down on your legs with your upper body straight and get up. If it feels difficult, don’t feel shy asking for help.
Avoid Wearing Heels
Heels tend to sift the bodyweight forward. As pregnancy increases the forward weight, it might get difficult to walk properly. Therefore, it is essential to balance the body weight, which might cause an imbalance. If you must, please wear low-heeled shoes or flats. Also, avoid pointed heels; instead, opt for 2 inches platforms.
Sleep on the Side
It is important to sleep properly. Sleeping in an incorrect posture might increase the discomfort. It is advisable to sleep on the side and not on the back. Keep pregnancy or support cushions for better sleep.
Avoid Sitting or Standing in One Place
You might feel tempted to keep sitting for an extended period. Well, it’s time to avoid being lazy. It is essential to keep your body moving from time to time. You must ensure some movement if you have been sitting for more than 20 minutes in a single posture. Just get up and take a stroll, or do some task you were thinking of doing later.
The HealthifyMe Note
Knowing what to do is good, but knowing what not to do is the best. Therefore, you must understand what you need to avoid doing during pregnancy to reduce back pain. Also, while exercising, remember to practice the correct posture and avoid over-exercising as that can lead to adverse effects.
Pregnancy can be a time of sheer joy. The fact that you are carrying another life inside you makes you ecstatic. One can keep physical discomfort at bay with some interventions and careful planning. However, one does feel some aches and pains as one gets heavier. There are many ways to reduce pain, but the most effective and long-lasting is doing daily exercises.
Specific exercises can play a significant role in keeping you fit. Try to practice the exercises daily without fail. It will help you remove not only pain but also reduce stress. Physical activity has always been the best medicine for feeling low. Whenever you feel like it, go for a walk in the garden. Try to be active and social; it will help you stay happy during the process and make you feel better.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. When should you start doing prenatal workouts?
A. It is best to start the prenatal workouts from the first trimester. If you are a normally active person and already follow a routine, keep following that for the first trimester. If you are not so busy, you can start slowly and gradually practice the habit of exercising daily.
Q. Can I squat while pregnant?
A. Yes, you can, and it is a permissible exercise. If you are already active and have been exercising for a long time, you can go for regular squats. But if you are generally inactive and unsure about it, you can start with the wall squat.
Q. Can you jump while pregnant?
A. It entirely depends on your comfort level. You can jump in the first trimester, but from the second trimester, it is advisable not to jump as it can cause severe discomfort or lead to pain. Also, the body grows differently during pregnancy; it is best to be gentle with your workout and activities.
Q. Can I do planks while pregnant?
A. Planks tighten the core muscles and help reduce belly fat. However, during pregnancy, you must protect the belly area from being stretched or compressed. Therefore, you should stop doing planks while pregnant.
Q. Can exercising cause miscarriage?
A. No, exercising does not cause miscarriage. Even if you have a complicated pregnancy, doing some physical activity and daily exercises are always advisable. However, it would help if you were very careful while exercising. For example, you must ensure you do not put too much pressure on your belly and do not jerk any body part. And also, make sure you do not fall trying to do something.
Q. Can I lose weight while pregnant?
A. Yes, you can lose weight while pregnant. Although it entirely depends on the body type if you should or shouldn’t. If you were significantly overweight or obese before pregnancy, it is advisable to lose some weight. But suppose you had an average body weight before pregnancy. In that case, it is advisable to not lose weight during the pregnancy as it might make you weaker and make it difficult to carry the baby.
Q. What happens if you exercise too hard while pregnant?
A. Working out too hard might hurt the baby. Various issues might occur, like difficulty in delivery or causing pain to the body. It might also affect your immune system and make you more prone to colds and infections.
Q. Is it too late to start exercising in the third trimester?
A. It is advisable to start in the first semester, but it is never too late. For example, if you are in the third semester, you can still start doing exercises.
Q. When should I stop doing planks when pregnant?
A. If you are an active woman, you can continue the planks in the first trimester. However, you must stop when you enter the second trimester of the pregnancy cycle.
Q. How many times a week should a pregnant woman exercise?
A. It is highly recommended that you exercise five days a week. You can keep two days as a rest day. But for the five workout days, you must be active and dedicate at least 30 minutes daily. Also, this will keep you motivated and stress-free.