Water Aerobics Soothes That Pain in the Back

More than one in three pregnant women suffer from lower back pain, but a recent Swedish study finds that water aerobics can reduce that pain by as much as half.

Researchers divided 390 healthy pregnant women into two groups. One group attended a land-based aerobic exercise group every week, while the other attended water aerobics. Both classes were specifically designed for pregnant women, and focused on strength, flexibility and fitness. Activities were similar, with the main difference being that water aerobics reduced the weight the mother's body had to carry, and cut down on resistance to movement.

The women in the water aerobics group experienced 50 percent less lower-back pain than the land-based group, and reported no sick leave due to lower-back pain. Researchers, who reported their findings in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, Neonatal Nursing, believe this is because water lessens the strain of activity on the muscles of the lower back. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology already recommends moderate exercise once a week for pregnant women. Here's one more reason to take the plunge.

- Christina Elston