The Best Lower Back Exercises for You Postpartum.
One of the (many) things you might not hear about postpartum life is how much your back may hurt. It turns out, “postpartum backache” is absolutely a thing. And it’s no wonder—your body has been through a lot. Specifically, your abdominal muscles. When your uterus stretches to create that oh-so-fun baby bump, your abs loosen and stretch. At this point, they’re not as effective at holding your spine and hips together. For this reason, backaches are common during pregnancy. During the postpartum period, your abs still aren’t back to normal, and they don’t even have your swollen uterus to rest on anymore. They become even more unstable. Hence, the “postpartum backache.”
But never fear—there are things you can do to help this. Just like exercising during pregnancy to keep your core as strong as possible you can do the same postpartum. Before you start exercising make sure you consult a pelvic floor therapist. There’s skilled in everything ‘core muscles’ along with the pelvic floor. They are able to help you check for diastasic recti, to see many inches of separation if any happened during pregnancy. This is the first step before attempting any/all of the exercises below.
Planking is a must, and it’s definitely my first pick. Why? No equipment required. Plus, it’s easy to incorporate a plank when you’re hanging out with your little one. If you’ve never planked before, don’t worry. It’s a very light exercise with no cardio involved. You simply act like you are going to do a pushup, but you don’t bend your arms. You just hold it. This is great for your core without being too harsh. If you don’t have great arm strength or this feels uncomfortable, you can also bend your knees into a “modified plank.” Make sure you are still pulled forward at an angle, though, and not completely squared off into a “table pose.”
2. Forward Fold
In a forward fold, you’ll want to stand upright, place both feet together, legs straight, and bend over at the hips. There’s no need to actually touch your toes—you’ll want to relax your body as much as possible in this position. You can swing your arms back and forth or side-to-side. Breathe deeply as you let your upper half hang over at your hips. What this is doing is using your body weight to stretch your spine, relieving your hips and lower back of all the weight of your torso that it usually holds. It’s also stretching your hamstrings—which is a big bonus. Tight hamstrings can lead to tight hips and—a tight lower back. It’s all connected!
3. Pigeon Pose
This one looks more complicated than the others, but once you get the hang of it, its not only a breeze—but a huge relief. For pigeon pose, get into a plank position and pull your right leg forward, bringing your right knee to meet your right elbow. Next, swing your fight foot up toward your left hand and plant it on the floor. Your leg will no be perpendicular to the rest of your body. Lower yourself down so you’re laying flat with your right leg bent and tucked underneath your body. Make sure to push your hips back a little bit until you feel comfortable. You should feel a tug on your right hip and inner thigh—that’s good. This stretch helps relieve both your hips and IT band of excess pressure, and this is one of the only exercises that helps you relieve both.
The new mom back ache is very real—and painful! And while it’s very easy as a new mom to hyper-focus on your little one and try to ignore the pain, don’t. Take care of yourself so you don’t have even more problems in the long run. Plus—you deserve to feel good. Go stretch, mama!