Did you know that by simply engaging a few muscles and being more aware of your core you can alleviate the majority of that lower back pain during pregnancy?
In the second trimester, your posture is everything! And it is usually around this milestone that you will begin to experience that lower back pain. Your transverse abdominals (fancy term for inner abs) play a HUGE role in keeping your posture in alignment as you continue to gain weight throughout pregnancy. As your baby grows, your center of gravity will cause her pelvis to tilt forward and let the weight of the belly hang. However, as soon as you begin to engage her transverse abdominals (inner abs), tuck in your tailbone, and engage your seat, your posture changes and then you are in the right form.
By following these 5 tips we can help keep you from having tight hamstrings, a sore lower back and rounded shoulders:
1. Cat / Cow Stretch – on hands and knees exhale, rounding your back, allowing your chin to tuck towards your neck, and drawing your belly in feeling it lift. This is Cat. To move into Cow, inhale and feel your belly fill up with air as you arch your back, and allow your chin to point up to the sky. Do this a few times, or as many times feel good. The breath doesn’t really matter, but you will feel your abdominals working more when you exhale in Cat.
2. Supermans – Starting on all fours you will extend and raise opposite arm and leg at the same time. To make it more challenging and feel a good stretch in your back you can try bringing opposite arm and leg into the middle to meet. Think Right Knee to Left Elbow, while rounding your back. Then come to start position and switch arm and leg combination. Try not to arch your back in the extension but keep it neutral. It’s great if you will feel your abdominals engage, as they are helping you balance.
3. Pelvic Tilts – you can do these standing, while seated on an exercise ball, or lying in bed. If you do these standing or on the ball, I recommend that the first couple times watch yourself in a mirror and make sure only your hips move and don’t allow your upper back do anything funky. Imagine your pelvis (your hips) is like a tea cup and imagine pouring the tea cup forward and backward. If you are lying in bed you make find that your glutes activate when you tilt the tea cup backward. Take note which is easier and which is harder.
4. Hamstring Stretch – You can do this a number of ways. Try it seated, with your legs out in front of you. Take a deep breath in, then as you exhale, allow yourself to hinge at your waist (or hips if your back is flexible) and reach for your shins, or toes. You will feel the stretch in the back of your legs. This can also be done in Downward Facing Dog, where you can also stretch out your calf muscles.
5. Swimming – Swimming is a great exercise you can do throughout the entire duration of pregnancy. This almost weightless movement through the water is a nice break for the back. (It’s also a great workout for the legs and arms).