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Feeling some pain? Lower back pain? Ouch. You're not alone. This not-fun symptom is normal but not enjoyable. There are things you can do about it however and one thing is to stretch.
Toning, stretching and strengthening the back and abdominal muscles through a stretching routine and moderate exercise program can usually relieve some pain. In addition to relieving that back pain, the stretching and exercise will pay off tremendously in labor and delivery and during those first postpartum days when you are trying to get your body back to normal (that is once you remember what normal is).
A stretching routine is very good for toning the perineal area, stretching ligaments, strengthening the inner thigh and abdominal muscles and promoting proper body alignment, all of which will help keep lower back pain and sciatica at bay. If you are already suffering, these stretches will offer some relief for this type of pain. A good stretching routine should include the following stretches or something similar.
Squatting Stretch This is just what it sounds like. Balance your body; steady yourself with a counter, table, or piece of furniture and squat for one minute at a time, 10 times a day. This is a great stretch and toner for legs and perineal muscles.
Tailor Sitting Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet crossed (kind of a relaxed cross-legged position). Spend 10 minutes a day at least two or three times a day sitting in this position. It gives the inner thighs a good stretch and takes the pressure off the lower back.
Tailor Stretching Similar to tailor sitting but a little more intense. Sit on the floor with your back against the couch or wall. Bend knees and put your feet together sole to sole. Slowly, see how close to the floor you can get your knees. When done over a period of time this stretch will increase flexibility dramatically.
The Pelvic Tilt This stretch gives expectant mothers a double reward: relief from lower back pain and it helps prepare the body for birth. Lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, exhale while pressing the small of your back against the floor then inhale and relax the spine. Repeat this several times. This stretch can be done in a standing position against the wall. In the standing pelvic tilt position press the small of the back against the wall and then relax. The standing position should always be used after the fourth month of pregnancy.
Dromedary Droop This stretch relieves the pressure of the enlarged uterus on the spine. Get down on hand and knees on the floor. Keeping the head straight and neck relaxed and aligned with the spine. Roll the back to make a hump while tightening the abdomen and buttocks. Allow the head to drop down. Slowly relax the back and bring the head back to the original position. Repeat several times a day for excellent lower back pain relief and relaxation.
Along with these stretches, moderate exercise is another way to alleviate lower back pain and sciatica. It's important to review your exercise plan with your doctor or midwife before you begin. Pregnancy isn't the time to try to lose weight or begin a vigorous exercise routine but you can pursue an exercise regimen at a mild to moderate level and receive tremendous benefits from it. For beginners, exercise three days a week, preferably with a day between workouts, for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.