Pregnancy: Bust the Backache

Pain in the lower back is common during pregnancy, here's how to find relief.
By Robyn Krause & Caitlyn de Beer

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Suffering from backache during pregnancy is not surprising – the causes range from your body’s hormonal changes to your baby’s weight and position in the womb. But, did you know that by simply engaging a few muscles and being more aware of your core, you can alleviate the majority of lower back pain during pregnancy?
In the second trimester, your posture is everything! And it is usually around this milestone that you begin to experience 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 centre of gravity will cause the pelvis to tilt forward and the weight of the belly to hang.
However, as soon as you begin to engage your transverse abdominals, tuck in your tailbone, and engage your seat, your posture changes and you will be more comfortable five ways to ease lower back pain during pregnancy By following these five tips, based on simple yoga positions, you can prevent tight hamstrings, a sore lower back and rounded shoulders:
1. cat / cow stretch: Position yourself on hands and knees and exhale while rounding your back, allowing your chin to tuck towards your neck, and drawing your belly in till you feel it lift. (cat). Now, 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 several times.
2. supermans: Starting on all fours, extend and raise the opposite arm and leg at the same time. To make it more challenging and to get greater stretch in your back, you can try bringing the opposite arm and leg around to meet in the middle –think right knee to left elbow – while rounding your back. Return to the start position and repeat the exercise, switching the arm and leg combination. Try not to arch your back in the extension, but rather keep it straight. If you feel your abdominals engage, they are helping you to maintain balance.
3. pelvic tilts: You can do these standing, seated on an exercise ball, or lying in bed. If you do these standing or on the ball, it is advisable to watch yourself (for the first few times) in a mirror to ensure that only your hips move and your upper back remains still. Imagine your pelvis (hips) is like a teacup and you are lifting and pouring the tea forward and backward. If you doing this exercise lying in bed, you may find that your glutes activate when you tilt the teacup backward.
4. hamstring stretch: You can do this in several 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 should feel the stretch in the back of your legs. 5. Swimming : Swimming is a great exercise that you can continue throughout your pregnancy. This almost weightless movement through the water provides a nice break for the back and is a great workout for the legs and arms.
flourishing fit
Flourishingfitmoms is an online resource for pregnant women who hope to keep their bodies in shape and stay fit during pregnancy and then get active again after birth. The brainchild of Robyn Krause – a biokineticist and sportswoman – and Caitlyn de Beer – a psychology lecturer and life coach – was created in response to the many questions and requests for advice they received regarding what exercises can and can’t be done during pregnancy and in the first few months following baby’s birth. The website contains downloadable workouts, nutritional advice and a blog.

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