Back and leg pain affects around 50% of women during pregnancy due to the many changes that take place in the body. The most common forms of pain during pregnancy are:
- Low back pain in the lumbar spine.
- Leg pain around the buttocks and thighs.
- Back pain that affects you at night.
As your baby grows through your pregnancy, your posture changes and your muscles weaken in your abdominals in order for you to be able to accommodate for your growing bump! Your body releases high levels of the hormone relaxin which causes the ligaments in the pelvis to loosen which then result in the muscles around the lumbar spine weakening. These changes mean the lumbar spine is less able to resist the shearing forces that take place through everyday activities and these forces impact the soft tissues and joints, leading to pain.
Being aware of a good posture is very important during your pregnancy, as this can really help to reduce the strain to your lower back. The following ideas are good to keep in mind whilst you are standing in order to maintain a good posture:
- Equal pressure distributed through both feet, feet hip distance apart.
- Relax the shoulders.
- Standing tall and lengthening your head and neck up towards the ceiling, ensuring that you’re not tipping forwards or leaning backwards.
When you are in a sitting position, the following points are worth noting:
- Feet flat on the floor (or footrest)
- Hips slightly higher than the knees
- Lower back supported.
- The head, neck, shoulders, elbows and hips are all in line.
- Shoulders and neck are relaxed.
- Elbows bent at 100° or more
Things to stay away from?
- Wearing heels – these will place more strain on the lower back.
- Staying in one position for too long
At Mend we offer an Ante and Postnatal Mummy Tummy Pilates Class, appropriate for those that have and haven’t been into exercise before their pregnancy. Improving lumbopelvic control can really help you through your pregnancy, your labour and your postnatal stage. Plus, it’s so important to look after yourself during this stage of your life. A happy mum means a happy baby!