Staying in Shape through Pregnancy: Relieving Lower Back Pain

My hometown lies at the foot of the mountains. This means there is no running without hills. Lots and lots of hills. Last week Micah and I did the 5-mile run my brothers mapped out. The whole of mile 2 is straight up hill. And the whole of mile 4 is straight down hill. As I was running down that hill, and trying not to topple forward in my unbalanced state, I could definitely feel the strain on my back.  And I know this is a common complaint for pregnant women. All that extra weight around the abdomen, all that effort spent keeping yourself up-right when everything says you should be falling on your face with ever step is bound to do a number on your poor back. So I thought I would share some back-strengthening exercises in an effort to make the pregnant population just a little bit more comfortable. Because I’m nice like that.

These are from my Perfect Pregnancy Workout DVD, which I have taken up again since my belly was getting in the way of my Long and Lean Yoga sessions. I’ve done some research and found that these are some of the most popular/effective back-strengthening exercises for pregnant women. I find them to be helpful and I hope others of you do, too.

1. Get on your hands and knees. Raise one leg and the opposite arm so they are parallel to the ground (as shown below). Hold for 15-2o seconds. As you are holding your arm and leg, pretend that they are being pulled in opposite directions. Let them stretch apart. Switch sides. Repeat 2-3 times.

2. From hands and knees, alternately arch and round your back (as shown below) 8-10 times, holding for just a second or two each time. As you arch your back (top picture), tuck your pelvis in. As you round, release and relax as much as you can. If you would like, you can speed up the pace and do a few more where you don’t really hold the pose at all.

3. Get on your hands and feet, belly up (as shown below). Pulse your hips/belly up 10 times. Rest for a few seconds. Repeat.

If you have any other exercises or techniques that have helped relieve lower back pain in pregnancy, let us know in the comments!

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  1. THese are great, prego or not! I’m still blown away by all you do during your pregnancy…Seriously impressive!
    Hang in there==enjoy the summer time until she comes! 😉


    lizzie Reply:

    Will do. Thanks, Monica.


  2. I recently had about 6 weeks of physical therapy for a lower back injury, and at the end of it I asked my PT how much of it I could do during a (hypothetical) future pregnancy, and she said, “All of it, as long as you’re comfortable.”

    Some of my favorites that I find bring the most relief/strengthen my core best are:
    1- the first exercise you showed
    2- Laying flat on your back, lifting one leg, keeping it straight, and crossing it over your body, while keeping your shoulder blades on the ground. You can also lie on your side and cross a straight leg in front and behind your body. Repeat on both sides
    3- Stand with your hands on your hips. Bend one knee to 90 degrees and rotate the hip joint, bringing the leg back down.

    Hope those help!


    lizzie Reply:

    Excellent. I think it always helps to have a few different things to try in case one doesn’t work for you.


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