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It has been found that about 50-70% of women experience back pain at some point during their pregnancy. It is easy to see understand how this would happen since the average weight gain is 25-35 pounds. As the woman’s center of gravity moves forward, the curve in her low back increases. This, in addition to hormonal changes, can cause severe back pain.

Many women have no idea what to do in this situation because they don’t want to take medicine that can be harmful to the baby. Here are some basic exercises and strategies that are not only helpful for reducing pain, but are great for preparing the body for delivery.

Specific Exercises

cat camelCat/Camel exercise

  1. Cat/Camel- Start on your hands and knees, and move back up to a flexed position, and then down to an extended position. Alternate between these positions (within a comfortable range) ten times. Do this several times throughout the day. Not only with this help with back mobility and core stability, but it helps the uterus to move up and off the pelvic floor slightly.This is especially beneficial before bed because it can remove some pressure off of your bladder, and allow you to not have to get up quite as frequently throughout the night to urinate. Not Pregnant? This is still a great exercise for anyone experiencing back pain!
  2. Squatting- Spending some time in a deep squat position daily is great to work hip mobility, and opening up the pelvis in preparation for delivery. Try to get your heels on the ground. Your spine should be in a neutral position and not flexed forward, so it should not bother your lower back in any way. Try to work your way up to at least 30 seconds to a minute of holding this position daily. squatDr. Thomure squatting at 39 weeks pregnant
  3. Sitting Cross Legged- This is a healthy and natural position for the lower back. It also allows the uterus to move forward increasing circulation and stretching the inner thighs.

What else can I do?

  • Get regular low impact exercise such as walking or swimming at least 3 times a week. Try for at least 30 minutes.
  • Avoid high heels, instead wear flat comfortable shoes with good arch support.
  • Use a pregnancy or body pillow when sleeping, and try to sleep on left side.
  • Wear a support belt under lower abdomen. This can help if pelvis is feeling unstable once ligaments are becoming more lax during later pregnancy.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractors can offer all natural relief to back pain in this situation. According to the American Pregnancy Association, seeing a chiropractor during pregnancy can help with

  • Maintaining a healthier pregnancy
  • Controlling symptoms of nausea
  • Reducing the time of labor and delivery
  • Relieving back, neck or joint pain
  • Prevent a potential cesarean delivery

How often should I see a chiropractor during pregnancy?

Obviously every patient is different, but Dr. Thomure typically recommends coming about as often as a woman sees her OB. This would mean approximately once a month during the first trimester, 1-2x/month during the second trimester, and 2-4x/month during the third trimester.

Article By Jamie Thomure DC