One of the biggest misconceptions that still seems to be quite common all over the world is that Mums to be should not exercise beyond the occasional walk in the park. This is not only a very old fashioned notion but a potentially dangerous one too. No, you can’t hit the gym and tackle an Olympian level workout when you are expecting but some exercise is crucial, both for your current health and to help you prepare for labour and delivery.
Some exercise can also help prevent – and relieve – many of the nagging aches and pains that come along with pregnancy including one of the nastiest of all , backache. Here are a few suggestions for fun, gentle exercises that can really help.
Pilates for Backache
Pilates was invented by Joseph Pilates more than 80 years ago. He was a sickly teen with asthma and a host of other health problems so he began devising a way to strengthen himself, both in mind and body (and it worked, he became an accomplished diver, swimmer, skier and boxer)
Part of his plan involved what he called ‘Pilates mat exercises’. He taught them to other soldiers when he was imprisoned in a camp during the First World War and then later devoted his life to doing so with all kinds of different people.
Pilates during pregnancy can be a great way to prepare the body as a whole for labor as it focuses on things like controlled breathing and strengthening the core. Using simple, guided Pilates movements Mums to Be can strengthen the transversus abdominus which will relieve and prevent backache and improve posture.
This video demonstrates some very simple movements that you can do at home that will help you overall, including helping to relive backache.
Yoga for Backache
Certain yoga poses can help relieve backache in pregnancy. Here are some gentler yoga poses that can help relieve back pain without overtaxing your pregnant body!
Seated Spinal Twist
Sit on the floor with both legs straight out in front of you. Gently bend your right knee and place your foot in front of it, just to the outside of your right hip.
Now gently press the right elbow to the inside of your right knee and postion your the palm of your left hand behind your hips. Make a slow twist to the left, gazing over your left shoulder for focus. Hold for five breaths then release. Return slowly to your original postion and then repeat for the other side.
Wide Child Pose
This is one of the gentlest poses you can do to help relieve backache. Sit gently on your shins and slightly widen your knees. Slowly ‘walk’ your hands out in front of you and fold gradually forward, allowing your hips to open up. Hold the pose for five breaths and sit up slowly when you are ready.
Slowly drop to your get hands and knees. Keep your palms down and your finger tips facing away from you. Drop your head and press your palms into the floor stretching your back up like and angry cat. Hold for five breaths, relax and repeat a few more times.
This video demonatates a varaiation on the cat pose called the cat cow, another very beneficial pose for pregnant ladies with backache.
These are just a few basics you can try AFTER you get the OK from your OB. It’s important that you do that before you start either Pilates or yoga. If you do find that these help you may even want to think about signing up for a regular class. Doing so will help you keep fit in general and is also a great way to socialize and have a bit of fun with other Mums to be, something you deserve, however busy your schedule is.