Dossier: Pregnancy

Back pain during pregnancy

When your bump grows during pregnancy, your centre of gravity shifts forward, and this often causes back pain. Standing or sitting for extended periods can be particularly uncomfortable. Below you’ll find some exercises and tips on how to ease the pressure on your back.

Back pain is one of the most common pregnancy-related complaints. One of the reasons for this is the pregnancy hormones, which soften the ligaments and tendons so they are no longer able to offer the same support, which leads to stress in the back and pelvis. In addition, your centre of gravity shifts forward as your bump grows, thus extending the natural curve of your spine. When pregnant women tilt their pelvis forward, this creates an arch in their back, which puts a strain on the lower back. You can help ease the pain through stabilisation and strength training as well as stretching and loosening exercises. It is also important to sit and stand correctly during pregnancy.

Tips for back-friendly standing

  • Distribute your weight evenly between both feet. Stand with your feet a little wider apart than usual.
  • Bend your knees slightly instead of locking them in place.Distribute your weight evenly between both feet. Stand with your feet a little wider apart than usual.
  • Try to keep your pelvis in a neutral position and don’t arch your back. To do so, pull in your belly button. 
  • Lift your chest and pull your shoulders back. 
  • Keep your head straight when walking – your head should be an extension of your spine. So, when you’re walking try not to look at the floor or at your mobile phone. 
  • If you have to pick something up off the floor, bend your knees, distribute your weight evenly between both feet and bend down with a straight back. Use the same technique to stand up again. 
  • If you have to stand a lot at work, it’s a good idea to wear support stockings. These prevent water retention in the legs. They also support the blood circulation of the whole body.

Tips for back-friendly sitting

  • Use a cushion or, even better, a wedge cushion. Sitting on a wedge cushion automatically tips your pelvis forward, thus encouraging a straight and healthy posture.
  • Sit as far back on the chair as you can.
  • To support your back you can place a second cushion, folded over in the middle, behind your lower back.
  • Sitting on a gym ball will help train your back muscles while working.

Exercise to relieve strain on your back

  • Stand up straight and rock the pelvis gently forwards and backwards. 
  • Stand on both feet and rock gently from your toes to your heels and repeat.
  • Stand on one leg for two to three breaths, then switch to the other leg and repeat. 
  • Seated exercise: With the back of your chair pushed against your desk, sit on the edge of your chair. Put your hands on your thighs and bend forward slightly with a straight back. Keeping this position (straight back, looking at the floor), lift your bottom a few centimetres off the chair. Stay in this position for a few breaths before sitting back down slowly. Repeat this exercise a few times.