10 Tips to Help Back Pain During Pregnancy

Strengthen your back now, and prevent the ouch as you enter motherhood.

10 Tips to Help Back Pain During Pregnancy

Pregnancy back pain is no joke. During your first trimester, women likely deal with a fair amount of nausea and fatigue. The good news is that tends to fade during the second trimester. In fact, many people say the second trimester is the time they feel the best during pregnancy. The bad news? More uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms can come your way as your bump grows.

As your pregnancy progresses and you start gaining more weight, there is one part of your body in particular that didn't get the memo about all the second trimester goodness—and that will really take a toll as your bump gets heavier during the third trimester: your back!


More specifically, the physical and hormonal changes that your body is undergoing in these stages of pregnancy will most often affect your lower back. That is because, as your belly expands and your ligaments in the hips and pelvis loosen, your center of gravity changes, too.

But here's some good news: You can strengthen your back, which means that it will hurt less. As always, check in with your provider before trying any new exercises, and to ensure that the pain you are feeling is normal, and not something more concerning (did you know that urinary tract infections often present as back pain in pregnancy?)

From posture to healthy everyday habits and exercises, here are 10 tips to ease or prevent back pain during pregnancy.

1. Tilt your pelvis

If you have take a yoga class, you may have heard your yoga instructor say this— it's even more important now that you are pregnant. Drawing the belly in and pulling your tailbone down while you are standing and doing daily activities can work a part of your abs that will keep your back healthy. Plus, it can aid in labor and delivery, creating the best pathway for the baby during a vaginal delivery.

2. Try goddess squats

Coming into a low squat with your heels on the ground resembles a stance in which many women still labor and deliver babies. Your back is curved and relaxed. Holding this position will also strengthen your legs to maintain this position during contractions and for added pain relief on your big day.

3. Don't lift, or lift with good form

Most providers recommend that pregnancy women avoid lifting heavy objects during pregnancy. But if this is your second child, you are probably lifting your toddler a lot. As your pregnancy progresses and if your back is bothering you, it would be wise to do that less. If you have to lift little people or objects, make sure to bend your knees and keep your chest up instead of leaning forward. This will put less pressure on your back, keeping it safer throughout your pregnancy.

4. Wear a pelvic support belt

There is a wide variety of belts that support the pelvis and lower back, similar to what bodybuilders and crossfit athletes wear when tackling bigger weights. Specifically the Gabrialla maternity belt is a good option if you are on your feet a lot. It gives gentle support, without restricting your movement.

5. Lie on your side with a pregnancy pillow between your knees

Starting in your second trimester, providers recommend not to lie on your back—laying on your side will get ensure the best blood flow to your uterus and growing baby. To relax your lower back, try placing a pregnancy pillow like Motherly's Esse Pillow, between your legs, which will help your lumbar spine decompress. Even 10 mins should significantly take the pressure off.

6. Wear maternity athletic wear for workouts

As your belly grows bigger, you will need to replace some of your existing workout gear. Why not invest in your good looks and health by buying targeted maternity apparel that will keep your back healthy? The mumberryfit line has a built in Mumband that's invisible but supportive, so you don't have to worry about straining your back during prenatal yoga. Plus, it's cute enough to wear outside of the studio.

7. See an acupuncturist or chiropractor

Pregnancy is a good time to explore alternative health practices when your options for pain relief are limited. So instead of treating symptoms, invest in acupuncture sessions or chiropractic appointments to make sure you are in alignment and balanced beyond just the physical aspects. Both practices will also prepare your body for labor and may help breech babies turn. Just remember to choose a practitioner who specializes in prenatal care.

8. Do bird dogs

The bird dog yoga pose is one of the best exercises to do while pregnant. It works your core gently and can help with preventing and treating diastasis recti after giving birth. Bonus point for helping support your lower back.

9. Stand up often

We know—it's easier said than done. But if you are in an office job, moving around is even more important now that you are expecting. Sitting for long periods of time is linked to postural chronic pain as well as cardiovascular disease. As much as you can, get up from your desk and walk around a little bit to prevent slouching and back pain.

10. Lie down with your legs up the wall

This delicious restorative yoga pose only has to be modified minimally to give you even better results in pregnancy. Scoot up to a wall sideways, then put a blanket on the floor directly under your hips. Place your hips and sacrum on it as you lift your legs up against the wall. Lie down on your back, close your eyes, turn your palms up and relax your legs. Stay here for at least 10 mins and your back will thank you.

In This Article

    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

    Our Partners

    This post is brought to you by Staples. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

    One of the biggest changes in my household once my daughter started homeschooling was that, suddenly, everything and everyone in our home had to start pulling double duty. While I was used to wearing a lot of hats (mom, wife and WFH employee, to name a few), suddenly our dining room was also pulling shifts as a classroom. My laptop was also a virtual teacher. Our living room hutch was also a school supply closet.

    If I didn't want my home to be overrun with an abundance of clutter, I had to find products that could multitask. Here are 10 products that are saving this WFH + homeschooling mama right now.

    Stylish storage cabinet

    Whether I need a place to keep the printer or just want to keep crayons and colored pencils organized, this pretty cabinet provides a mixture of exposed and hidden storage without clashing with my living room decor.

    White board calendar + bulletin board

    With so much on our plates these days, I need a visual reminder of our daily schedule or I'll forget everything. This dry erase version makes it easy to keep track of Zoom meetings and virtual classes—and I also love using the corkboard to display my daughter's latest work from art class.

    Natural Recycled 3-Ring Binder

    From tracking our curriculum progress to organizing my family's paperwork, I can never have enough binders. Even better, this neutral version is pretty enough that I can display them on the bookshelf.

    Bamboo storage drawers

    The instant you start homeschooling, it can feel like you're suddenly drowning in papers, craft supplies and more. Fortunately, these simple bamboo drawers can be tucked into the cabinet or even displayed on top (seriously, they're that cute!) to keep what we need organized and close at hand.

    Laminated world map

    I love this dry-erase map for our geography lessons, but the real secret? It also makes a cute piece of wall decor for my work space.

    Rolling 7-drawer cabinet

    When you're doing it all from home, you sometimes have to roll with the punches—I strongly recommend getting an organizational system that rolls with you. On days when both my husband and I are working from home and I need to move my daughter's classes to another room, this 7-drawer cabinet makes it easy to bring the classroom with us.


    From our first day of school photo to displaying favorite quotes to keep myself motivated, this 12"x18" letterboard is my favorite thing to display in our home.

    Expandable tablet stand

    Word to the wise: Get a pretty tablet stand you won't mind seeing out every day. (Because between virtual playdates, my daughter's screen time and my own personal use, this thing never gets put away.)

    Neutral pocket chart

    Between organizing my daughter's chore chart, displaying our weekly sight words and providing a fits-anywhere place to keep supplies on hand, this handy little pocket chart is a must-have for homeschooling families.

    Totable fabric bins

    My ultimate hack for getting my family to clean up after themselves? These fabric bins. I can use them to organize my desk, store my oldest's books and even keep a bin of toys on hand for the baby to play with while we do school. And when playtime is over, it's easy for everyone to simply put everything back in the bin and pop it in the cabinet.

    Looking for study solutions for older children? Hop over to Grown & Flown for their top picks for Back to School.

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