Body Mechanics and Exercise
When sitting or standing, Marie can improve her ergonomics, or body mechanics, by putting a foot up on a stool (standing) or a foot rest (seated). This relaxes a set of muscles called the iliopsoas muscles and tilts the pelvis forward, decreasing the strain on her lumbar spine and the muscles around it.
Low or no heels are important to protect the back, too, but Marie knows that - she's usually barefooted.
When she sleeps, Marie puts a pillow between her legs and pads her belly by putting pillows under it. She says that prevents night pain, and I'd never disagree with a pregnant woman.
What about exercises? A neat, easy one is the cat stretch. Marie does this by getting on the floor on all fours and arching her back up like a cat. She does a slow count to five, and then relaxes. I love watching her do this.
She's also a believer in doing her daily stretches. She says it keeps her supple, and I can attest that she's supple.
One we've read about, but not tried yet, is the "double hip squeeze." It's supposed to correct the alignment of the pelvis, and it's described at the Childbirth.org site listed below.
When Marie has muscle spasms in her back, she likes a towel with crushed ice in it positioned just so, but other women may prefer localized heat. Hey, use what works.
Marie likes to swim, too. I tease her about becoming more aerodynamic when she's big-bellied, but having a kid in tow doesn't seem to cause her trouble in the pool. This is a good kind of exercise because it encourages fluid, smooth muscle movements - the good kind. Movements that are jerky, like snatching when lifting something, are the bad kind.
I'll note here that Marie's excellent ob/gyn knows all about Marie's antics in the pool, and she approves. I'd think any pregnant woman should check with her doctor before undertaking an exercise program. It might be exactly the wrong thing to do.
What's also helped her back is Marie's new maternity bra. She says it's got enough structure in it to hold up a Mini Cooper, but she says that the additional support has really helped her back.