Here are 5 things you can do to make your back and hips more comfortable throughout your pregnancy. It is common to have some back/hip/pelvic pain during pregnancy. Some of it is inevitable due to hormonal changes, however there are some exercises you can do to help ease or prevent the pain. This should not be taken as prescriptive medical advice, but some things that have helped my clients. As always, nothing substitutes for in person medical advice.
During pregnancy hormone levels are changing and creating laxity, or looseness, throughout your ligaments and joints. This is a good thing and is necessary in order to create room to carry a baby to term and to deliver a baby vaginally. Our bodies work incredibly efficiently and have a back-up system for stability. That is by using muscle strength to support our bones and joints when the ligaments are injured or stretched out, such as happens naturally during pregnancy. This is also how people can live with torn ACL or torn rotator cuffs and not everyone needs surgery.
The first exercise that can help is called a bridge. This strengthens the glute and hip muscles to build muscle to support the pelvis as the ligaments are beginning to loosen. Later in pregnancy this exercise may be too uncomfortable to perform and should be discontinued.
Another good exercise to help strengthen and support the hips and pelvis is walking sideways. In the video I have a resistance band for added strength, but even if you don’t have a resistance band just walking sideways can be helpful. This is not something we do in our everyday lives but can really help build strength to support those hips.
This seated cross-legged stretch can help stretch out some muscles in the buttocks that often get tight during pregnancy. I like to hold this stretch for about 20-30 seconds on each side.
If the stretch is not helping enough then often a self-massage with a tennis ball between you and the wall can help. This is a way to really work out some specific tight areas in the muscle. I like to do it against the wall rather than lying on top of the ball on the ground because it is easier to control the pressure. Often lying on top of the ball on the floor is too much pressure.
The final recommendation that really helps a lot of moms during pregnancy is purchasing a support belt. There are a few different ones that I recommend based on my clients’ feedback. Sometimes no matter how much a mom may exercise during pregnancy there is just the extra weight and pressure and ligament laxity creating hip and pelvic pain and the support belt can really help in this situation.
As always, if you need individual assistance booking a session to see me or your local physical therapist can be tremendously helpful to give you an individualized program of exercises and stretches to do to help support you throughout your pregnancy. If you aren’t local, an online session may be helpful as well.