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Sheltering Arms Blog

10 Ways to Decrease Low Back and Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy


Posted on: July 8, 2019 by Jenny Lankford

By: Lindsey Forstie, PT, DPT

More than two-thirds of women experience low back pain (LBP) and/or pelvic girdle pain (PGP) during pregnancy and the post-partum period. The pain tends to increase in severity as pregnancy progresses.

Symptoms include:
• Pain over the pubic bone in the front, middle area between your hip bones
• Pain on one side or across the low back
• Pain in one or both buttocks
• Pain down the back of one or both thighs
• Pain in the inner thighs

This pain may vary in intensity from mild to severe and can be sharp, shooting, dull, or achy.

LBP and PGP can alter the quality of life during pregnancy by creating difficulties with:
• Lifting
• Rolling over bed, sitting up, or otherwise changing body position
• Going up and down stairs
• Sitting, standing, or walking for prolonged periods

The good news is there are ways to manage both LBP and PGP during pregnancy. To help relieve your pain and prevent recurrences:
1. Avoid activities that increase pain
2. Don’t go up and down stairs more than necessary
3. Avoid bending and twisting when lifting (use your legs instead)
4. Keep your knees together as much as possible (roll to your side when sitting up from lying down and keep your knees together when you get in and out of the car)
5. Avoid sitting or standing for too long (especially sitting on the floor)
6. Sleep on your side with a pillow between the knees
7. Avoid standing on one leg
8. Wear flat, supportive shoes
9. Try a maternity support garment/belt (they have been shown to reduce pain severity and reduce the effects of back pain on sleeping and mobility)
10. Stretch

Here are a few good stretches to try:

Childs_PoseChild’s Pose:
To perform this stretch, get on all fours with your knees spread apart to allow room for your belly. Walk your palms forward so they are extended in front of you, then rock your hips backward, bringing them down toward your heels. Hold this position for 10-20 seconds and repeat 4-5 times.

Standing_PigeonStanding Pigeon Pose/Piriformis Stretch:
To perform this stretch, stand with one leg on a surface at about waist height (like your bed or the arm of a couch). Bend your knee at a 90-degree angle and make sure your hips are facing straight forward. Bend forward, bringing your torso toward your knee. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat two times on each side.

Cat_StretchCat Stretch:
To perform this stretch, arch your back upward, letting your head and neck release, gazing down at your thighs. Hold for a few seconds, then return to a flat back position. Repeat 10 times.

Last but not least, visit a physical therapist. Sheltering Arms has physical therapists specifically trained to provide you with stretches, stabilizing exercises, and strengthening exercises tailored to your needs. To learn more about the services we offer, click here.