If you are in your second trimester, you might already be feeling the scary lower back pain. As your belly grows, your center of gravity shifts which usually results in an arched lower back. I remember looking in the mirror one day and asking myself “Whoa! Do I really look like that?” I mean my lower back was so exaggerated, I thought to myself no wonder pregnant women get lower back pain. And even though your body thinks this arch is the path of least resistance, it starts as lower back pain and can effect everything you do on a daily basis, including your workouts. There is something you can do to correct this over arch. I’ve created this simple daily workout program to not only help relieve back pain, but to strengthen and open your pelvic floor. This movements are all necessary to give you the easiest pregnancy and best delivery possible.
Stability Ball Glute Bridge
Start sitting on the ball and slowly walk your legs forward so that only your upper back rests on the ball. Knees should be bent and directly stacked over ankles. Drop your booty low and then squeeze your glutes, quads, and core up to make your body a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. You can also consciously engage your pelvic floor muscles in this movement. This strengthens your core and mobilizes your hips.
Start lying on one side with your knees bent and stacked on each other. I keep one arm bent to stabilize myself. Use your feet as a pivot point and open your legs like a clamshell. Work all reps on one side before switching to the next. This will work your hip abductors, opening up your hips.
Cat Stretch/Pelvic Tilts
A popular yoga move, the cat stretch is actually just a pelvic tilt. Start on all fours, knees can be positioned wide but should be under your hips (not behind hips), and hands should be stacked directly under shoulders. Breathe as you arch your back, feeling your pelvis tuck under. I do not like to alternate with cow, since in pregnancy our backs are already over-arched there is no need to encourage this. Simply rest in a neutral spine position. This move works the core, lower back, and helps positioning of baby by moving the pelvis.
Laying Hip Abduction
Lay on one side with bottom leg bent, top leg straight, and one arm bent to support your upper body. Lift the straight leg up like an 80’s aerobics instructor, lifting as high as you can. Complete all reps on this side before switching to the next. This works your hip abductors and obliques as you open your hips.
Core Stabilized Crawling
This move was recommended by Dr. Lisa at Dynamic Essence Chiropractic based out of Grand Rapids, MI. Crawling is a great movement for a pregnant woman as it stimulates our primal instincts. Start on all fours with a light plate weight on your back (use a 5 or 10). Lift knees off the floor and use alternate hand and feet movements to “crawl” forward slowly and controlled. This is a great position for your body to be in, and your core is forced to be engaged as you move. The plate on your back should encourage you to maintain a flat back position with pelvis tucked.
Renowned Midwife Ina May Gaskin recommends 300 squats a day for the pregnant mama. I incorporated these into my daily routine to make sure I got at least 100 (50 reps for each round). Your squat position will change often in pregnancy, so listen to your body. Generally we want feet wide, directly under hips, chest up, butt back but pelvis tucked (not overarched). In pregnancy, your feet may need to be wider to make room for baby. Also, as you grow, it becomes very uncomfortable to squat super low with a big ole baby in your stomach. Getting quads to parallel with the ground is good enough to get the movement in. Not only are you strengthening your abs, legs, and glutes, but you are opening your hips. You can even add in conscious pelvic floor squeezes as a bonus! Squats are easily the best exercise to perform while pregnant, so they are incorporated here daily and often in my Pregnancy Workout Plans.
Try two sets of these exercises…12 reps each and 50 reps for the squats.