It’s no secret that our backs take a beating during pregnancy. From the extra weight of baby to our sense of gravity shifting, it’s no wonder that most women have backaches at some point during their pregnancy. It’s one of the most common reasons why women take prenatal yoga - to find some relief!
So here they are, my go-to poses for helping that tender back to feel better. Tried and tested through my own three pregnancies and numerous years of teaching other pregnant women.
This is one of my all-time favourite poses during pregnancy. The hands and knees position takes the weight of baby off your back (bliss!) and the movement not only feels good but also provides very gentle abdominal toning.
How to do:
Come onto all fours with your knees under your hips (a bit wider than hip-distance is okay, too) and hands under your shoulders. If your knees feel tender place a blanket underneath them. As you inhale lift your chest, and as you exhale relax your head down and round your spine. Repeat as many times as feels good.
This is another nice one. You still have the weight of baby off the back, and, as with any hands and knees position, you have the benefit of encouraging baby into a nice position (back to belly). Note: if your wrists start to bother you while on all fours, try coming onto fists or fingertips.
How to do:
Come onto hands and knees, let your head relax down, and slowly begin to circle only your hips in one direction. When you feel ready, switch and go in the other direction a few times. Come back to centre and begin to circle again in that first direction but this time let your entire body move. Close your eyes and let your body move in the way that feels best. Let the movements be bigger. Maybe bring the hips down to the heels in child pose, maybe bend the elbows and get into some of the muscles in the back or shoulder. As long as it feels good you’re doing it right. Reverse direction.
Seated Cat Cow
I like this because it's feels good on the back, loosens stiff muscles and can be done sitting on a chair or floor, making it more accessible.
How to do it:
Sitting with legs crossed, rest your hands on your knees. As you inhale, rock forward on your sitting bones (bones under the bum) and lift your chest. As you exhale, rock back, and round your spine and drop your chin. Continue with these movements and let your breath lead the way.
Standing Hip Circles
Like the all-fours version, this is a nice way to release tension and discomfort in the low back. This pose has the added advantage of gravity which makes it great to do during labour to help dilate the cervix.
How to do:
Stand with feet hip-distance (or a bit wider) apart. Place your hands on your hips and begin to circle just your hips. Let your knees have a soft bend, and switch direction when ready. Next, circle in the first direction again, and let the movements be a little bigger, a little more free. Tune into your body and move in the way that feels good. Switch direction again when you like.
Standing Cat Cow
Can you tell I love cat cow?? This one feels good, relieves the back and doesn’t require you to get down onto the floor so you can do it anywhere.
How to do:
Stand with your feet the distance apart that feels best and bend your knees. Sink your bum down as though you’re going to sit down onto a chair, and place your hands onto your thighs. Like the all-fours version, inhale and lift your chest. Exhale and round your spine. Repeat as many times as you like.