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Experts Corner


Exercise to Relieve Third Trimester Back Ache
By Sara Holliday, MFT, CPT

Sara Holliday - Fit by SaraQ. I am in my third trimester and am having low back aches. My doctor has checked and says nothing is wrong with my back; it's just typical third trimester achiness. He suggested stretching and yoga but wasn't specific on what I could do. Do you have any tips or suggestions for relieving my poor tired back?

A. A sore back is no fun, but have no fear, it can be relieved through stretching and strengthening exercises found in yoga and swimming. You will love swimming because you will feel weightless in the water, a feeling you probably haven't felt for a while! I also recommend yoga because yoga lengthens the muscles which will reduce tension in your low back. Try these back strengthening, low back pain relieving moves below:

Swim Exercise--Holding onto a kickboard, work up to kicking across the pool 10-15 times. Take a break and see if you can do more. Kicking will strengthen your low back, buttocks, and upper thighs thus placing less strain on your back as your baby grows. The added benefit is you will tone your thighs and buttocks and you'll feel more relaxed after exercising in the water.

Yoga Exercise "Cat and Cow"--Place your hands and knees on all fours on a mat. Make sure your hands are placed on the floor below your shoulders and your knees are placed hip width apart on the ground. Inhale and sway your back and look up "cow", then exhale tuck your abdominals under, arch your spine and look towards your belly button "cat". Repeat 8-12 reps.

You may also modify this exercise to take advantage of the heat in the shower. The heat of the shower will further release tension you carry in your spine. To modify the exercise in the shower, standing, place your hands about a hand width above your knees and repeat the same "cat and cow" exercise with your back under the warm heat of the shower. The added benefit of "cat and cow" is it strengthens and tones the abdominals.


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