First, let’s talk about some of the common body issues that are experienced during pregnancy. Low back pain, lower abdominal pain, groin pain and knee pain are quite common, although other things certainly occur as well (1). Sometimes these pains are serious, so you should always continue to have regular follow ups with your doctor, but there are many times that these pains are simply body aches that can be helped with movement and treatment.
There are many reasons why these aches and pains may present for different people. Relaxin hormone elevates during pregnancy to allow for the development of your baby and your body (2) and its function includes ligament and tendon modification to allow for the pelvis (and the rest of the body) to get ready for delivery of your little one (3). Extra mobility throughout your body as well as your changing core and the way that the body compensates for those changes are common culprits for pain.
Exercise during pregnancy is crucial to staying comfortable. There is a lot of information available for safe exercise during pregnancy (check with your doctor to make sure that you are safe to exercise) and many prenatal exercise classes that you can participate in that makes exercise during pregnancy fun and easier to understand which exercises are good to do during pregnancy. Personally I can say that my first pregnancy was comfortable with some mild low back pain toward the end. The second pregnancy was certainly less comfortable, but chasing around a toddler and a full schedule certainly made exercise trickier to fit in. I have made exercise a priority during my third pregnancy and have felt quite comfortable, and I would like to share some of what I am doing with you:
1. Breathe! I can’t understate how important this is for reducing muscular tension around the abdomen and pelvis. I know for myself and other moms that we commonly begin to grip around the abdominal and gluteal areas as our core changes. Catch this, breathe, and let your beautiful bumps be free, mamas!
2. Do squats and lunges. Staying strong around the low back and pelvis is helpful with building the muscular strength and endurance during your pregnancy as things loosen around these areas.
3. Make a point to do frequent easy movement activities such as walking or prenatal yoga. This is especially important if you are stationary during the day at work or at home.
4. Ball release and stretching on a daily basis is helpful with managing muscular tightness that can develop in the gluteal and low back areas. Massage is also very lovely for this!
5. Listen to your body and put your feet up (literally, especially if you have swelling) to allow your body some time to rest and recover from exercise and daily activities.
6. Ladies, don’t ignore your pelvic floor. Breathing helps to manage tension that can occur here, but seeing a pelvic health therapist can help you to recognize how to relax and contract which will put you at an advantage for recovery from your birth (c-section or vaginal delivery).
Some mild aches and pains may happen with pregnancy, especially as your get closer to your due date, but there are so many things you can do to stay comfortable and functional during your pregnancy. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! I am only a phone call away, and my wonderful colleagues at the clinic are also passionate about helping you stay healthy and mobile. Keep on moving your beautiful bumps, mamas!
1. Sharp Pain During Pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association: Promoting Pregnancy Wellness. https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/sharp-pain-pregnancy/.
2. Ann N Y. Relaxin in Human Pregnancy. Acad Sci. 2009 Apr;1160:10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3856209/.
3. Dehghan F et al. The effect of relaxin on the musculoskeletal system. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2014 Aug; 24(4): e220–e229.