Growing a baby can take quite a toll on your body, and it can make you achy. Your back is a common target as the extra weight of the baby packs onto you. Many women experience back pain during pregnancy, and it can be hard to find relief. The pain you feel may be dull and constant or sharp and short-lived. It all depends on your individual experience.
One way that you can help your body feel better is by following a stretching plan. Stretches are particularly effective if the pain you feel is from fatigue, muscle tension, or postural strain. The stretches below can help reduce backache symptoms.
Pregnancy Stretches for Back Pain
The Cat-Cow is a popular move in yoga. It feels great and can help stretch out your back. It is also simple to do. You get on your hands and knees, then arch your back like a cat while looking down. The cow portion of this stretch has you drop your chest and let your stomach dip toward the floor while arching your back and looking forward. You can hold each move for 10-15 seconds and repeat up to five times.
Backward Stretch/Extended Child’s Pose
After Cat-Cow, you can go right into Extended Child’s Pose, which will help stretch your thighs, back, and pelvis. From the Cat-Cow beginning position, put your feet together and flare out your knees to the edges of the yoga mat to make room for your baby belly. Then, sit back onto your heels while tucking your head toward your knees and keeping your arms extended. Hold it for a few seconds and work up to 10 repetitions. For an alternative method, you can do this stretch with your hands on a fitness ball if you are not comfortable lying forward.
Pelvic Tilt – Standing or with a Fitness Ball
The pelvic tilt is a great way to help stretch the muscles in your lower back. If you want to do the standing pelvic tilt, stand up straight with your back against the wall and your feet shoulder-width apart. Next, push the small of your back into the wall and hold it for a few seconds.
If you want to do a pelvic tilt with the help of a fitness ball, you can sit on the floor with your back leaning against the ball. Make sure to have your arms on your hips and feet flat on the floor. Then, push the small of your back upward and hold for a few seconds. You can work up to 10 repetitions for either variation.
This stretch is excellent for the muscles in both your back and your upper torso. This kind of move is also common in yoga and involves sitting crosslegged. Turn to the right and hold your right foot with your left hand. Open the body up further by moving your left hand behind you. Make sure to repeat on the other side. You can work up to 10 repetitions per side.
Standing Extension Stretch
Another great back stretch is the standing extension. Stand up and put your hands at the back of your hips. Then, gently arch your back slightly while using your hands as support. Hold it for a few seconds and repeat it 3 to 5 times.
Piriformis Muscle Stretch
You may also feel pain in your butt from your sciatic nerve while you’re pregnant—sciatica. This pain is connected to the back and worsens with long periods of bending, standing, or sitting activities.
To stretch this muscle, sit on the edge of a chair and rest your right ankle on your left knee. Then, put your right hand on your right knee, keep your back tall and lean forward until you feel the right buttock stretching. You can hold it for about 15 seconds and then repeat it on the other side.
Chest Opening Stretch
Chest stretches can also help with back soreness. Put your hands on each side of an open doorway. Then, step forward until you feel the stretch in the front of your chest. You may even feel it into your upper arms or mid-back. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds and repeat it 2 or 3 times.
If you experience back pain during your pregnancy or after the birth of your baby, consult with your doctor. Depending on the severity, your doctor may recommend a physical therapist. The stretches above can help relieve some tension and pain that comes along with pregnancy.