Low back pain. It can seriously dampen a woman’s enthusiasm about her pregnancy. Some women start developing it early in the 2nd trimester as the hormone relaxin starts to loosen up ligaments and soften tendons, thereby making joints more flexible and less stable. In other women, low back pain has a more gradual onset and peaks in latter half of the third trimester.
Causes of low back pain
- At the start of the pregnancy, the embryo is tiny and protected by the mom’s bony pelvis and four layers of abdominal muscles.
- As the pregnancy progresses, the embryo becomes a fetus and grows in size, moving up out of the safety of the pelvic girdle.
- Fetal growth continues, so the abdomen expands and the mom’s centre of gravity shifts anteriorly, placing extra stress on the lumbar spine and causing the lordotic curve to increase.
- The increased lordotic curve increases pressure on spinal muscles, tendons, intervertebral discs and spinal nerves.
- Sciatica is described as pain, originating from the low back, that runs down the backs of the legs and may extend into the calves, feet and toes. It is caused by irritation of the sciatic nerves.
You can see how the sciatic nerve can be irritated by the increased lordotic curvature changing the orientation of not only the vertebrae, but also the discs and the organs and muscles surrounding the spine. Sciatica often limits a pregnant woman’s ability to exercise or even complete normal daily tasks.
There is relief!
Aquatic fitness relieves low back pain and sciatica by literally ‘taking a load off’ her body. The buoyancy of the water supports her so not as much weight is pressing on her spinal discs and nerves. This relief is experienced to an even greater degree when the woman is suspended in the water. This is the main reason we include a ‘Dangle Time’ at the end of each PreNatal Aquafit class.
Aquatic Fitness offers so many benefits for women during their pregnancy! Each trimester brings with it a new set of challenges and experiences that can be minimized or dealt with by working out in the water.
Did you do PreNatal Aquafit when you were pregnant? Why or why not? We’d love to hear about your experiences!