No Pain, No Gain? Managing Back Problems During Pregnancy
Maintain an Exercise Program
Dr. Wayne L. Westcott, a fitness research director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts, reports that back strengthening exercises can help ease back pain, as well as prevent future episodes from recurring. So, it’s essential that expectant moms get regular exercise while they are pregnant. Both swimming and walking are good, safe back-strengthening exercises for a pregnant woman. Any weight-bearing exercise that requires you to use your own body as a force against gravity helps tighten the muscles of your back and abdomen, keeping them healthier.
“Water aerobics is another great way to exercise during pregnancy, says Christie, who teaches a water aerobics class for expectant moms. She explains, “Working out in water puts minimal strain on the joints and back. Twenty to thirty minutes of low-impact aerobics, two to three times a week can help you maintain strength and flexibility.”
Words of Caution
Christie cautions women exercising during pregnancy: “If a patient already has a history of back problems, pregnancy may exacerbate the condition.” For women who suffer chronic back problems either during or following pregnancy, she suggests asking your doctor about physical therapy to help prevent future back problems.
Christie also recommends talking to your doctor if back pain worsens or persists for more than two weeks, as there could be another underlying cause.
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