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  • Writer's pictureCocoon & Bloom

Posture Changes in Pregnancy - I've got your back!

Back ache in pregnancy - most women will experience some degree of back pain in pregnancy. There are a number of normal physiological changes in pregnancy that result in postural changes which can bring about back pain. You can see from the image that there is a change to the usual adult 's' shape curve in pregnancy. As the baby grows, there is increased weight distribution in the front, increasing the lumbar curve which can lead to lower back pain and constipation. The abdominal muscles stretch and weaken, reducing stability around the lumbar spine. There is accentuated rounding of the shoulders (partly due to the increased weight of the breasts), leading to upper back, shoulder and neck pain. There is a forward tilt to the pelvis, contributing to lower back, pelvic and hip pain as well as sciatica. The changes in weight distribution brings about a shift in the body's centre of gravity. 

Aquanatal exercise in pregnancy will help to keep you active and gently strengthen muscles and improve flexibility, both of which can help to relieve the extra strain placed on your spine. All classes include exercises to help reverse rounded shoulders by stretching the chest and shoulder muscles. We work on strengthening core and back muscles in a safe and pregnancy appropriate way.We gently mobilise the hips and pelvic girdle. Working muscles encourages capillarisation which increases blood supply and nourishment of these muscles. On top of all this, simply being in the water can reduce the impact of the extra weight on your joints and women feel such relief as they enter the pool.   

A pregnant woman's gait will change with a potential for a flattening of the foot arches (ever heard of the pregnancy waddle?!) - food peddling in water can help to restore aches brought about by this. On top of this all, hormones of pregnancy can cause ligaments to become more lax - particularly in the pelvis.

On the plus side, a pregnant woman's quadriceps and calves get naturally strong in the pregnancy as they have to carry more weight (however, the gluteal muscles which are linked to the pelvic floor get weaker). Appropriate exercises used in Aquanatal classes can help to stabilise and strengthen the lumbar and pelvic region. There is a neural connection between the pelvic floor and the abdominal muscles, therefore if we work on the core muscles gently in pregnancy, we are naturally helping the stabilise and improve the pelvic floor for pregnancy and the postnatal period.

In summary, Aquanatal exercise is a great way to help combat the aches and pains of the postural changes of pregnancy, improve your sleep cycles and sense of well-being, plus give the chance to meet lovely like-minded mums-to-be.

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