8 Exercises to Prevent Back Pain During Pregnancy

As I write this, my wife and I are expecting our fourth baby boy!  This is an exciting and busy time for us.  As with the other pregnancies, my wife’s body is going through all kinds of changes.  One issue that she is currently having is some mild back pain.  Now you have to understand what this means for me.  Being a physical therapist who helps people all day who are in pain, get out of pain, I feel a burden when my own wife is in pain.  I feel that I should be able to fix it and make it go away (I guess that is a guy thing as well).  It is kind of like a dentist’s wife with a cavity and missing teeth.  There is something wrong with that scenario.

Back Pain

While there is a lot I can do to help her (and I do), there is even more she and other expecting mothers could have done at the beginning of their pregnancy to avoid pain later on in the pregnancy.  Given, there are several different reasons for back pain during pregnancy.  These causes range from minor pain induced from the ligaments stretching as the pelvis prepares for birth, all the way to more severe pain which may be warning signs of something serious. (If you have back pain during pregnancy, you should speak with your doctor).


Then there is the infamous sciatica!  Even the name induces fear into the hearts of some.  For some reason people view it as this uncontrollable disease that they contract and have to suffer through.  Here again can be several reasons for this type of pain.  However, I would like to teach you a few exercises you can do at the beginning of your pregnancy to act as your vaccination for major back pain later in pregnancy.

These exercises are intended to be done BEFORE your 2nd Trimester.  Some of these can still be done later, or with modifications, but the intended purpose is to prepare your body for the additional weight you will be carrying in front of you.

So here they are…

8 Exercises to help ward off back pain during pregnancy.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  Well, I’ve one-upped that and given you a video animation of the exercise.  Enter the code EHU2512 in the box on our physical therapy website www.sportschange.com   for a detailed description and video animation of this workout.

     If you want to get fancier, you can download the free app for Perfect Fit on your iPhone and take the exercises with you.

  1. Pelvic Tilts: This pelvic motion is foundational.  You need to get this down now, so that later on you can do the same motion in different positions when laying on your back is no longer possible.
  2. Bridging with Marching: A classic exercise to give you hip and low back strength and stability
  3. Clams: You need good hip stability to counteract all the loosening of the ligaments and the extra weight being placed on the pelvis.
  4. Double Knee to Chest: An exercise that won’t be very possible later on.  Let’s get the back muscles stretched out.
  5. Birddog: A classic lumbar stabilization exercise to give your back the stability it is going to need.
  6. Prayer Stretch:  This is another stretch you won’t be able to do later in pregnancy.  Enjoy it while you can!
  7. Half Kneel Hip Flexor Stretch: This is an essential component to alleviate any pull currently being placed on your back from tight hip flexors
  8. Foam Roll Pectoral Stretch: Counter act the forces pulling your shoulders and upper back forward, with this great postural exercise.  One of my favorites!

Get started on these exercises early- even before you get pregnant.  These will help prepare your body for the strain it will be under in the near future.

Have fun with these, if you have any questions feel free to email me.  I’d love to hear from you.

As with anything I post on this blog, if you have pain or a current injury, you should get it evaluated by the proper medical professional.  This is not intended to diagnose, or treat any injury.  The purpose of these posts is for injury prevention only.


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