To keep your pregnancy as comfortable as possible for your back and spine, the experts at Spine Team Texas offer the suggestions below. Of course, before starting any exercise program while pregnant, a woman should consult her OB/GYN.
- Resistance training - If your blood pressure is in check, and you aren't experiencing any complications, resistance training can be a great way to get your muscles prepared for delivery day and beyond. Use low weights to get your arms and legs toned up.
- Hip strength - To keep your hips strong and prepare them to carry the extra weight of pregnancy, do some hip strengthening exercises like side, back and front leg lifts.
- Leg strength - Leg raises, lunges, squats and calf stretches can keep your legs strong and help ward off leg cramps.
- Abdominal strength - A strong abdomen will help you carry your growing baby and be a big asset during labor. Avoid traditional sit-ups, but learn modified sit-ups by performing them from a side-laying position. You can also do pelvic tilts to strengthen your abdomen, but be sure you're practicing proper form.
- Aerobics - Water aerobics and walking are also great low-impact exercises that can facilitate good cardiovascular health.
After the baby's arrival, incorporate some of these helpful hints below for keeping your spine healthy.
- Bath Time - Don't bend over during bath time; instead, kneel or squat next to the tub to avoid overexerting your back muscles and causing injury.
- Rocking - Shifting your weight from side to side can help circulate your blood, keep your muscles active and provide needed nutrition to your back's discs through movement. Keeping these benefits in mind, you might want to trade in your rocker occasionally to stand and sway with your baby instead.
- Carrying - To avoid strain on your back muscles, hold your baby close to your body and be careful not to get in a habit of carrying him or her on your hip.
- Car Seat - When placing your baby in and out of the car seat, be sure not to twist or pivot, which can be harmful to your back. Instead, sit in the car next to the seat to fasten your baby in the seat securely.
- Postpartum Sciatica - Many women find that after delivery, they have pain, numbness or a tingling that radiates from the lower spine down the leg. This common condition, known as postpartum sciatica, can be eased with stretches, walking and/or other cardiovascular exercises and modalities such as cold packs.