More than a third of all women will experience back pain during their pregnancy. Whilst many a mother might attest to this experience as being normal, few things are able to provide comfort for women is experiencing pain. Of greater concern is that 20% of these women continue to have back pain well after giving birth. A recent paper in the Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine has shed some light on evidence that expertly guided exercise not only can reduce back pain during pregnancy, it can reduce the risk of ongoing pain post-pregnancy and the risk of pain in future pregnancies.
The authors reviewed the outcomes of 23 separate studies finding strong support for the use of back pain specific exercise and that these exercises were more likely to be effective if they were delivered with the pregnant woman’s specific, individual needs considered by a health professional such as an accredited exercise physiologist. Given the risks of pain medication use to the expectant mother and her unborn child, exercise presents as being one of the most reliable and safest means of pain relief, with long term benefits also apparent.
It may also seem that getting expert guidance on exercise during pregnancy could have other untold benefits for mum-to-be. A study on barriers for pregnant women to exercise found that pain and fear of harm were the main reasons pregnant women abstained from physical activity. It’s been found that women who exercise during pregnancy have lower rates of ill health themselves with reduced incidences of conditions such as post-natal depression and type II diabetes. Interestingly too it’s also been found that the children of women who exercised during pregnancy had lower rates of a range of conditions such as obesity, type II diabetes and attention disorders, even into adulthood.
With this in mind, health experts are recommending pregnant women consult with their healthcare team and get expert advice, such as from an exercise physiologist, to ensure a healthy pregnancy and the best outcomes for their children.