Water aerobics can help ease the pelvic and back pain that plague many women during pregnancy, Swedish researchers report.
Among healthy pregnant women, those who did water aerobics once a week reported less low back pain and less work missed due to back pain than those who performed land-based exercise weekly.
More than one third of women experience low back pain during pregnancy, which can increase the risk of suffering this type of pain later on, midwife Aina B. Granath of Primary Health Care in Southern Bohuslan County in Molndal and colleagues note in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing.
To compare the effectiveness of land- and water-based exercise routines in easing lower back and pelvic pain among pregnant women, the researchers randomly assigned 390 healthy pregnant women to one or other of the two types of sessions, once weekly.
Both the land- and water-based exercise routines were specifically designed for pregnant women, and included 45 minutes of activity followed by 15 minutes of relaxation. Women began exercising, on average, at about 19 weeks of pregnancy.
Women in the water exercise group reported less pregnancy- related lower back pain than those who exercised on land, and while none of the water exercisers took sick leave due to low back pain, six women in the land-based exercise program did.
“Pregnant women should be encouraged to continue with moderate physical activity as long as possible. Water aerobics is a simple and inexpensive form of physical activity,” the researchers conclude.
SOURCE: Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing
Revision date: June 18, 2011
Last revised: by Jorge P. Ribeiro, MD