Create A Healthy Spine For Your Pregnancy

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Ever wish you could wear a sign throughout your pregnancy that reads, “thanks, but no thanks, for the unsolicited advice.” With advice pouring in around every corner, sometimes it’s hard to know who to listen to. However, advice even experts can agree on is that regular exercise throughout pregnancy has been shown to balance emotions, improve labor and help reduce pregnancy and post-pregnancy back pain. Health and wellness doesn’t go out the door once you put on maternity pants. Laser Spine Institute offers diet and fitness tips that can help you on your journey. Take those tips, and our suggestions (we promise not to give any of our baby name preferences!) to improve spinal health to enjoy your pregnancy.

Start with a Professional Baseline

While your back may have never given you trouble before becoming pregnant, having your spine evaluated before engaging in exercise will help narrow down which fitness activities you will benefit from most, according to obstetrics experts at The Cleveland Clinic. Physicians and physical therapists will complete a comprehensive examination of your spine followed with personalized suggestions for exercises or therapy such as yoga, tai chi and whole body stretches. Not all surgery and medical centers will treat pregnant women, however, so make sure to take your time to find somewhere that does if your pain develops after becoming pregnant.

Restorative Yoga to Reduce and Prevent Pain

With each week of pregnancy, the pressure exerted on the spine and pelvic girdle becomes greater as the fetus grows. A study of pregnant women from weeks 12 to 32 concluded that regular practice of Hatha-based yoga significantly decreased pelvic and low back pain. Hatha-based yoga focuses on holding poses rather than engaging in constant movement, reducing risk of injury. This prolonged stretching improves flow of nutrients to the spine helping to decrease pain.

Try the Paryankasana pose to strengthen the pelvic floor and spine:

  • Lie down on your back and straighten your legs, keeping your knees together.
  • Next, fold your right leg in at your knee at the side of your buttocks while breathing normally. Hold the position as long as you’re comfortable and repeat the same on other side.

Flow with Tai Chi

The characteristic movements and flow of tai chi make it an especially helpful exercise routine during the later half of pregnancy to prevent low back pain. As the weeks pass, a hormone called relaxin increases to help muscles associated with the pelvic floor and low back stretch to get the body ready for labor. While this is obviously a beneficial adaptation, the increase in relaxin can also cause laxity of the spine sometimes making you prone to back injury. Tai chi is easy on the joints and an excellent way to develop balance and strength without risking injury due to the built up relaxin. The American Tai Chi Association can help find a class in your area that is suitable for pregnancy.

Water Aerobics

When you get that “there’s no more room at the inn” feeling toward the end of pregnancy, let water be your friend. You can take a load off and improve spinal health while still gaining cardiovascular fitness in a water aerobics class. While you may be a great swimmer, consider taking a group class where there is a lifeguard on-duty. Your local YMCA is a great resource for aquatic aerobics.

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