Yoga Poses for Back Care during Pregnancy & Postpartum

By Alexa Rittichier, Prenatal Yoga Facilitator & Doula

A SHORT DAILY ROUTINE FOR PREGNANCY & THE POSTPARTUM PERIOD

Low back pain affects a large portion of the pregnant and postnatal population. Often pregnancy can lead to imbalances in the body that cause this. I have put together a routine of my favorite five, simple moves that can be added to your day to help ease low back pain.

Pelvic Tilts 

Pelvic tilts can be performed from many different positions and are a great way to stretch the low back area to relieve pain in the low back and pelvic area. These can either be performed laying flat on your back with your feet planted on the wall or, depending on your stage of pregnancy, if you are uncomfortable on your back these can also be performed sitting upright on chair/exercise ball with feet planted on floor, or from a quadruped position- on all fours. 


Align your knees over your toes with your feet at least belly width apart. Gentle exhale to engage the low abdomen and glutes (butt muscles) and focus on spreading the low back against the floor as you tilt your tailbone toward the sky flattening the curve of your lumbar spine. Slowly relax the glutes and abdomen as you relax the tilt of your pelvis back to a neutral position with the tailbone reaching down toward the floor allowing the low back to come to a natural curve away from the floor. Slowly move your pelvis alternating between these two positions alternating between muscular engagement and full relaxation. Start with 16 sets and increase the number as desired.

Figure Four Stretch

A figure four stretch is great for the low back! This stretch targets muscles in the lower back, the outer hip, the hip flexor, and the glutes. During pregnancy, relaxin and postural imbalances contribute to shifts in the pelvis. As a result, the gluteus medius and piriformis are tight throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period.


This stretch can be performed on your back with your feet on the wall or sitting in a chair with feet on the floor. 

Actively flex your right foot, to keep the ankle straight, and cross the ankle over the left thigh above the knee. To increase the sensation, you can grab behind the left thigh with your hands. For less sensation, you can walk the left foot up the wall. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds up to a few minutes. Repeat on the other side.

L-Stretch  

This variation of Downward Facing Dog that is wonderful for those with low back issues. Your arms can be as high as they need to be on the wall which can allow you to focus on softening and lengthening the low back. If you are struggling with downward facing dog due to strength, energy, or heartburn, this variation allow you to still get many benefits of the pose. 


Stand in front of the wall and place your hands on the wall near low rib level. Walk back until your arms are straight and your spine is long and has a neutral curve, both arms and torso parallel to the ground. Stand with feet belly distance apart and keep the knees bent as much as they need to be for the torso and arms to be straight. Spread your toes and firm your leg muscles. Spiral your inner thighs backward to spread your sit bones wide. Push your hands actively into the wall as you ground the top of the legs and pelvis back to create length along the side body and back. Hold the active stretch for 10 deep breaths to start and increase as desired.

Exercise Ball Roll Outs

This movement is very similar to the L-stretch in shape as well as in terms of aims and targets, but we will get there in a more active way.  


Start sitting back on your heels. If this is uncomfortable, you can always place a bolster or pillow between the hips and the heels. Place your hands on a large exercise ball in front of you. Exhale and find a gentle hug of the low belly. On your inhale, start to roll the ball out away from you letting the hands and forearms roll to the top of the ball. The hips will lift off the heels. Keep the tail heavy and reaching away from the arms as you press the arms down into the ball. You should feel length along the side body and in the low back. As you exhale, begin rolling back on the ball and let the hips sink back to the heels to sit upright. Continue moving with the breath for 5-10 repetitions.

Supported Bridge Pose

Our final pose is a restorative bridge pose. This pose promotes deep relaxation and soothes the nervous system. It can also reduce the feeling of heaviness in the abdomen and pelvis. It allows the spine to experience extension while being gently supported.


Lie on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet flat on the floor about belly width apart. Extend your arms on the floor along your sides. Press down into your feet to lift your hips off the floor so you can slide a yoga block, bolster or pillow under your sacrum, the triangular shaped bone at the base of your spine. Let your weight settle into the support below you. Relax your neck and jaw. Breathe deeply. You can stay here for as little as a minute or about 10 minutes if it is comfortable. If this pose causes your back to hurt, remove the support and come out of the pose.

I encourage you to give each of these a try! I love sequencing them together in a mini-sequence to wind down my day. You can also one or more of them throughout the day here for relief as needed. For more cueing and demonstrations of these poses, check out my video below…



Upcoming ONLINE dates, view here. We also offer this training in California.



Alexa J. Rittichier is an artist, mover, maker, yoga and movement teacher, birth doula, anatomy lover, and pre/postnatal exercise specialist. She has been dancing her whole life and practicing yoga for over 20 years. Teaching, tutoring and mentoring have been part of Alexa’s life since 2005. She has taught visual art, creative movement, drama, dance, and yoga in a variety of settings to all ages from 3-years-old and up. Alexa has been training yoga teachers since 2016.

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