Hip, Back and Pelvic pain in pregnancy
Information for patients
This leaflet can be made available in other formats including large print, CD and Braille and in languages other than English, upon request.
This leaflet had been designed to provide you with advice and exercises to assist you in reducing your pain and symptoms.
You can do some of these exercises on the floor, using an exercise ball mat or on the carpet, with a chair or gym ball.
Helpful tip: When sitting onto an exercise ball your hips should be higher than your knees.
Back stretch on chair/ball
To do this exercise start by putting something soft under your knees.
Then, get onto your knees and face the chair/gym ball.
Lean forward and put your arms on the chair/ball as far as you can. If you are using a ball, you could roll it forwards and to the sides to stretch the lower back.
Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds and take some deep breaths.
Repeat this exercise for 3 to 5 times every day.
You can also just rest on the ball/chair by resting your arms on it and sitting on your feet.
Wall mini squats
Stand with your back against a sturdy wall with your arms crossed or by your sides, then walk your feet forward.
Your feet should be shoulder-width apart.
Slide down the wall until your knees are bent about 90 degrees angle or above, they should be directly over your ankles.
Return to the standing position. Make sure to keep your back and knees aligned at all times.
You can progress the exercise by stepping away from the wall and squatting without support if you feel stable and stronger.
Four kneeling pelvic and back tilts
Kneeling on your hands and knees (picture 1), tilt your pelvis forwards towards the floor, rounding your back and lifting your head (picture 2).
You can hold your position for a few seconds, then relax moving back to the starting position.
From your kneeling position, tuck your head and navel inwards, arching your spine in the opposite direction (picture 3) hold the position a few seconds and return to starting position.
Seated Pelvic tilt on ball/chair
Sitting on a chair or exercise ball, with your hips higher than your knees or levelled.
Tilt your pelvis forwards, arching your back, hold 5 seconds and return to starting position.
Now tilt your pelvis backwards, rounding your back, hold and return to starting position.
You can also rock side to side, shifting the weight from one sitting bone to the other one.
Leg wall press
Lay onto your side, supporting your head or resting it on a pillow.
Knees slightly bent with a pillow between them and ankles together.
Place your upwards foot on the wall increasing the distance between your ankles.
Push your heel into the wall and hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
Relax and repeat 5 times.
Complete on the other side.
Static legs opening and closure
Sit in a chair or on a firm surface, separate the knees slightly and place your hands making a fist between them, press the knees against the fists for approximately 10 seconds then relax (left picture).
Repeat up to 3 times.
Following this, place your hands outside of your knees and try to open the legs at the same time while you are resisting with your hands (right picture) hold for 10 seconds.
Repeat up to 3 times.
Wall Press Up
Stand at one arm’s length from a wall.
Place your hands on the wall.
Bend your arms and lean your upper body forward slowly.
Straighten your arms and push your upper body back.
Keep your body in a straight line and try to avoid arching your back.
Overhead arms straightening (Triceps).
Sit comfortably on a chair, hold a light dumbbell or bottle of water with both hands and straighten your elbows overhead, keeping your elbows close to your head.
Lower the weight behind your head by about an inch and then slowly raise it back up to the starting position.
Repeat this movement for 5 to 10 repetitions. 2 to 3 times.
Arms bending (Biceps curls)
Sit comfortably on a chair, holding light weight in your hands such as light dumbbell or small water bottles.
Start with your arms straight beside you, bend both arms and bring the dumbbells to shoulder height, squeezing your upper arm muscles.
Slowly lower both hands back to the starting position and repeat the movement.
Repeat for 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Belly breathing exercise
You can adopt the below breathing technique at home and/or during labour.
Sit comfortably on a couch, chair or against an exercise ball with your eyes open or closed, which ever feels most comfortable.
Put your hands on your belly to monitor your breathing.
You should feel your belly expanding under your hands as you inhale. Breathe normally but focusing on your belly and avoid breathing through your upper chest.
Hold your breath for a few seconds, and then breathe out slowly. Do this 5 times and aim to carry this out at least 3 times per day.
Muscle Relaxation exercise
- Sitting on a chair, couch or floor or lying down on your left side if you feel more comfortable.
- Make a strong fist and then relax your hand and fingers.
- Bring the awareness towards the face, scrunch the face muscles and then relax.
- Finish by tensing your entire body for 10 seconds and relaxing. Allow your whole body to go limp and light.
- Pay attention to the feeling of relaxation, and how different it is from the feeling of tension, take some time in this relaxation state.
- Begin to wake your body up by slowly moving your toes and fingers. Adjust your arms and legs. Stretch your muscles and open your eyes when you’re ready.
- Therapist aid (2017) Progressive Muscle Relaxation script. Accessed 04/07/23https://www.therapistaid.com/worksheets/progressive-muscle-relaxation-script.pdf
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This leaflet has been produced in partnership with patients and carers. All patient leaflets are regularly reviewed, and any suggestions you have as to how it may be improved are extremely valuable. Please write to the Clinical Governance team, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital of North Tees, TS19 8PE or:
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Leaflet reference: PIL1470
Date for Review: December 2026