A Swedish study involving 258 pregnant women investigated whether water gymnastics could reduce the intensity of back pain and the number of days taken for sick leave. Women were divided equally into two groups: an exercise group that participated in water gymnastics (one hour of relaxation exercises, performed in a swimming pool and accompanied by music) during the second half of their pregnancy; and a control group that did not participate in water gymnastics.
Although back pain intensity increased during the course of pregnancy for both groups, the exercise group reported less pain compared with the control group. The total number of reported days on sick leave was also lower in the exercise group (982 days taken) compared with controls (1,484 days taken).
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Kihlstrand M, Stenman B, Nilsson S, et al. Water gymnastics reduced the intensity of back/low back pain in pregnant women. Acta Obstetrics Et Gynecologica Scandinavia, March 1999: Vol. 78, No. 3, pp180-85.