Exercises for back pain in pregnancy

Having a baby can be joyful and daunting at the same time. The thrills and spills of every trimester bring new challenges and new opportunities to experience the delight of motherhood.

Pilates can be one of the most effective ways to help prevent pain, maintain strength, reduce stress and help reduce the risk of diastasis and pelvic floor problems after your baby arrives. Best of all it is fun too!

This low impact (no bounding and jumping) but high value exercise will help your breathing too. It can be done with specialised equipment such as the Pilates ring, Swiss ball or Reformer, like we have at Vitality Physiotherapy in Southwark or on a mat.


Maintaining your strength throughout your stages of pregnancy will help prepare your body for carrying your baby as well as promote recovery after birth whether you have a caesarean section or a vaginal delivery.


As Laura Porro, our fabulous specialist pregnancy Pilates teacher says, “Pilates is about feeling good in your body, not just at the studio, but at home too”


The 5 best exercises for lower back pain in pregnancy


In this video Laura, will guide you through the 5 best Pilates exercises for lower back pain during pregnancy.


Tips before trying this:

  • Make sure you have enough space around you and listen to your body:
  • If something does not feel right, take a break, or skip the exercise.
  • Try not to look at the screen, but if you prefer to see, pause the exercise, and then return to it, to protect your neck and keep your balance.


Exercise 1 – Lateral breathing

Lateral breathing will:

  •  Enhance your proprioception.
  •  Increase your lung capacity.
  •  Lengthen your spine.
  •  Condition the deep muscles of your inner unit (core).


Exercise 2 – Thoracic rotation

Thoracic rotation is key to reduce lower back pain because it helps stabilise and strengthen the lower back muscles, which are under great stress during the growth of the baby. It is key here to keep the waist and hips facing forward, whilst the ribs and shoulders rotate around your central axis.


Exercise 3 – Quadruped hip hinge

A key skill to prevent lower back pain and mitigate it when it arises is the ability to move your hips, without moving your pelvis. During pregnancy, due to the hormonal and weight distribution changes, the ligaments in the pelvis can become more mobile, thus leading to instability in the pelvis and subsequently lower back pain. This exercise helps stabilise the pelvis whilst the hips move.


Exercise 4 – Quadruped lateral rotation

Similarly to exercise 2, here we focus on opening the chest, whilst keeping the lower back stable. Notice the difference between stabilising the pelvis here and during exercise 2: which one did you find easier?


Exercise 5 – Semi supine pelvic rotation

This is the most challenging exercise (that’s why it comes last):

As you shift your weight from the left to the right side of the pelvis, feel the neutral curve of your back. The tailbone is always the heaviest point, with a sense of lightness in the lower back. Keeping the two sides of the pelvis aligned (without dropping one half during the rotation) strengthens the intrapelvic ligaments, which are needed to rebalance the pregnancy-related changes mentioned above.


For any questions, comments, or to book a personalised assessment of your exercise needs during pregnancy, please contact us at: