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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!

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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.

This is how we’re defining success this school year

Hint: It's not related to grades.

In the ever-moving lives of parents and children, opportunities to slow down and reflect on priorities can be hard to come by. But a new school year scheduled to begin in the midst of a global pandemic offers the chance to reflect on how we should all think about measures of success. For both parents and kids, that may mean putting a fresh emphasis on optimism, creativity and curiosity.

Throughout recent decades, "school success" became entangled with "academic achievement," with cases of anxiety among school children dramatically increasing in the past few generations. Then, almost overnight, the American school system was turned on its head in the spring of 2020. As we look ahead to a new school year that will look like no year past, more is being asked of teachers, students and parents, such as acclimating to distance learning, collaborating with peers from afar and aiming to maintain consistency with schooling amidst general instability due to COVID.

Despite the inherent challenges, there is also an overdue opportunity to redefine success during the school year by finding fresh ways to keep students and their parents involved in the learning process.

"I always encourage my son to try at least one difficult thing every school year," says Arushi Garg, parenting blogger and mom of a 4-year-old. "This challenges him but also allows me to remind him to be optimistic! Lots of things in life are hard, and it's important we learn to be positive during difficult times. Fostering a sense of optimism allows kids to push beyond what they thought possible, like biking without training wheels or reading above their grade level."

Here are a few mantras to keep in mind this school year:

Quality learning matters more than quantifying learning

After focusing on standardized measures of academic success for so long, the learning environment this next school year may involve more independent, remote learning. Some parents are considering this an exciting opportunity for their children to assume a bigger role in what they are learning—and parents are also getting on board by supporting their children's education with engaging, positive learning materials like Highlights Magazine.

As a working mom, Garg also appreciates that Highlights Magazine can help engage her son while she's also working. She says, "He sits next to me and solves puzzles in the magazine or practices his writing from the workbook."

Keep an open mind as "school" looks different

Whether children are of preschool age or in the midst of high school, "going to school" is bound to look different this year. Naturally, this may require some adjustment as kids become accustomed to new guidelines. Although many parents may wish to shelter our kids from challenges, others believe optimism can be fostered through adversity when everyone is committed to adapting to new experiences.

"Honestly, I am yet to figure out when I will be comfortable sending [my son] back [to school]," says Garg. In the meantime, she's helping her son remain connected with friends who also read Highlights Magazine by encouraging the kids to talk about what they are learning on video calls.

Follow children's cues about what interests them

For Garg, her biggest hope for this school year is that her son will create "success" for himself by embracing new learning possibilities with positivity.

"Encouraging my son to try new things has given him a chance to prove that he can do anything," she says. "He takes his previous success as an example now and feels he can fail multiple times before he succeeds."

There's no denying that this school year will be far from the norm. But, perhaps, we can create a new, better way of defining our children's success in school because of it.

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

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