What's the best exercise program for back and pelvic pain with pregnancy? I know I'm supposed to be careful doing abdominal exercises. What else should I do?

Many women have back and/or pelvic pain during pregnancy. Studies to show which exercises work best are very few and far between. A recent study in Sweden compared three physical therapy programs for women with pelvic pain.

Group one received some information about changes in their bodies during pregnancy. They were given a nonelastic sacroiliac belt and advice about posture. Group two was treated the same as group one but with three extra exercises added. The exercises were to stabilize the spine. Group three was the same as group one plus they did four strength training exercises. Everyone followed their program until week 39 of their pregancy.

Using pain and activity as measures the researchers didn't see any difference in outcome between the three groups. Exercise for pelvic or back pain may be more important after pregnancy. Improved posture and work habits along with the use of a supportive belt may be all that's needed during the pregnancy.