50-70% of women experience lower back pain during pregnancy. Physical changes in pregnant women including hormonal changes, changes to the center of gravity and increased weight gain cause changes to posture and often lead to discomfort in the lower back, shoulders, neck and hips. Two types of postural misalignment are common among pregnant women- Lordosis- increased curvature in the lower back and Kyphosis- rounding the shoulders forward. Some women have a little of both known as lordo-kyphosis.
Following the basic principles of alignment can help draw student back to a balanced pelvis and can be helpful in maintaining postural integrity to avoid chronic back pain. When the lower back over arches you need a gentle scooping of the tailbone during yoga practice and everyday activities in order to balance the pelvis and maintain natural curves of the spine. This exaggerated curvature causes the back muscles to shorten and become tense, which also strains the psoas muscle.
The rounding of the upper back and shoulders is common in pregnant women and new moms. This can be caused by added weight in the breasts or psychological reflex to round and protect the growing baby inside. With new moms it is usually from carrying the baby and nursing. Try pressing the shoulder blades in and down your back and lengthening the side body to improve posture and back discomfort.
Some Tips for Alleviating Lower Back Pain: