One of the most common side affects of pregnancy for women across the country is back pain.
It’s no wonder back pain is such a common complaint, as the body is gaining more weight, your centre of gravity is lowered and your ligaments are starting to relax to prepare your body for labour.
Gentle exercise to strengthen the core abdominal muscles can help to take some of the strain off your back and prevent acute localised pain in your lower back.
- Help you to carry the weight you gain in pregnancy.
- Prepare you for the physical challenge of labour and birth.
- Improve your mood, and give you energy.
- Help you to sleep better.
- Make getting back into shape after your baby is born easier.
- Give you the chance to meet other mums-to-be, if you opt for a class.
Avoid doing sports where there’s a risk of hitting your bump, or of slipping and falling, such as squash, gymnastics, rollerblading, horse riding and skiing.
The following types of exercise are safe in pregnancy, though some may not be suitable for the last few months, and you may need to lessen the activity as your pregnancy progresses. Talk to your doctor, midwife or Chiropractor before starting any exercise that’s new to you.
Walking - Brisk walking keeps you fit without jarring your knees and ankles, and gives your heart a workout. It is safe throughout pregnancy
Running – Running is one of the quickest and most efficient ways to work your heart and body, and you can vary the distance as your energy levels allow. However, if running is new to you, pregnancy is probably not the time to start.
Swimming – Swimming is an ideal, and safe, form of exercise in pregnancy. It exercises your arms and legs, and works your heart and lungs. The bigger your bump gets, the more you’ll enjoy feeling weightless in the water. If you enjoy group activity, you could join an aquanatal class or aqua aerobics class.
Yoga – Pregnancy yoga helps to maintain muscle tone and flexibility and improve your posture. It’s kinder to your joints than more vigorous types of exercise. Make sure that your yoga teacher is experienced in providing advice for pregnant women.
Pilates – Pilates exercises strengthen your tummy and pelvic floor muscles, a part of your body known as the stable core. Pilates targets the muscles that can weaken during pregnancy, in a way that supports, rather than strains, them. Choose an antenatal pilates class, if there’s one in your area.
Weight training – If weight training is already part of your exercise routine, there’s no reason to stop now that you’re pregnant. As long as you’re careful, using light weights will tone and strengthen your muscles.
Aerobics – Going along to a weekly aerobics class gives you a regular time to exercise. It’s safe, as long as you keep the exercises low impact, to protect your joints. If you sign up for an antenatal class, you can feel reassured that each movement is safe for you and your baby.
Dance – Generally speaking, you can carry on with a dance class if you did it regularly before you were pregnant. Try not to leap, jump, twirl or change direction suddenly, as you may lose your balance.
Pelvic floor exercises – Last, but definitely not least, exercise your pelvic floor! If you have weak pelvic floor muscles, you may leak small amounts of wee when you exercise, cough or sneeze (stress incontinence). You can prevent this from happening by doing pelvic floor exercises every day.
Posture During Pregnancy
Most women often find back pain most intense when they’ve been in the same position for along time as the muscles start to become stiff. Always make sure to change your position regularly and use the appropriate support, such as a cushion when sitting or sleeping, and a lumbar role when exercising.
Posture can also be key to managing lower back pain. When you’re moving around make sure to bend from the knees and keep your back straight. Don’t forget to move your feet when turning as this can help prevent excess twisting on the spine!
Keep the principles of good posture in mind to help relieve any stress on your spine: stand up straight and tall, hold your chest high, keep your shoulders and back relaxed and use a comfortably wide stance tokeep your upper body fully supported.
Remember… Although back pain is common during pregnancy, it is important to make sure you’re getting the right exercise. Attending a class or speaking to a GP or come in to speak to one of our Specally trained Chiropractors to know you’re taking care of your body in the best way possible.
All of the Chiropractors at Axis Chiropractic are registered with the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) and the General Chiropractic Council (GCC). Chiropractic care during pregnancy is perfectly safe and can help you have a smooth and pain free pregnancy, call the clinic tdau to get more information or to book an appointment.