Back pain and pregnancy

21st Mar 2016

Do pregnant women who exercise during their pregnancy have less back pain?

Dr. Raul Artal, a professor emeritus in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and women’s health at Saint Louis University School of Medicine says, “Up to 60 percent of all pregnant women have some back pain. Women who engage in exercises to prevent low back pain experience less low back pain, and those who have it can engage in those exercised to ameliorate it.”

The reason women experience back pain during pregnancy is due to the curvature of the spine that results when the abdomen expands and alters a woman’s center of gravity.

“It’s a very common complaint,” says Dr. Artal.

However, strengthening the back and abdominal muscles can minimize the pain. A report from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says, “Despite the fact that pregnancy is associated with profound anatomic and physiologic changes, exercise has minimal risks and has been shown to benefit most women. Women with uncomplicated pregnancies should be encouraged to engage in physical activities before, during and after pregnancy.”

Exercises including walking, swimming, stationary cycling and other low-impact aerobics are deemed safe. Simple exercises like arching the spine back and forth like a cat on the floor, or standing with the back to the wall with knees bent and spine straightened can also help.