How to Do Pelvic Tilt Exercises

Pregnant woman doing pelvic tilts

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We’re just going to come out and say it: Pregnancy can be painful. As your little one grows and your belly grows with them, it puts stress on your body, especially your back, core, and pelvis. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 80% of pregnant people experience back pain, and 10% of the time, that pain becomes so severe that it hinders their ability to do normal daily activities.

All that said, there are exercises that can help alleviate this pain, while potentially allowing for a smoother postpartum recovery. One such exercise is pelvic tilts. Discover what pelvic tilt exercises are, the benefits they can provide, and how to do them.

What Are Pelvic Tilt Exercises?

Pelvic tilt exercises can engage and strengthen the very important, often overlooked muscles of the pelvic floor. “The pelvic floor consists of 14 different muscles that form the base of your core. These muscles support our vital organs, stabilize the pelvis, and control incontinence,” explains Sabrina Stockel, a pre and postnatal fitness expert and founder of ABC Fit Collective. Pelvic tilts use all of these muscles, as well as the other abdominal and lower back muscles, to alleviate common pre and postpartum woes like lower back pain, sciatica, and round ligament pain.

There are two types of pelvic tilts: anterior and posterior. “One way to envision pelvic tilts is imagining headlights on the front of your pelvis,” suggests Stockel. “Try to point your headlights up (this is a posterior pelvic tilt) and down (this is an anterior pelvic tilt).” You can also do a lateral pelvic tilt, which involves tilting your pelvis to the side.

Depending on the direction in which you tilt, you will activate different muscles. “A posterior pelvic tilt can strengthen the gluteals and rectus abdominis, activate the pelvic floor, and stretch the low back/hip flexors,” explains Kristi Kliebert, PT, DPT, a pelvic health physical therapist with the Sarasota Memorial Healthcare System and the director of communications for the APTA Academy of Pelvic Heath.  “An anterior tilt can strengthen the low back/hip flexors, stretch the abdominals and lengthen the pelvic floor. And a lateral pelvic tilt can strengthen and lengthen the quadratus lumborum, hip adductors, gluteus medius, and pelvic floor muscles.” 

The issues you are experiencing, as well as your stage of pregnancy or postpartum, will determine the most beneficial types of pelvic tilts for you, as well as the best positions in which to do them.

The below is not meant to be taken as medical advice, and it's always a good idea to consult with your OB/GYN or healthcare provider before starting a new exercise regimen during pregnancy. If you have questions or specific areas of discomfort, please reach out to your provider.

Benefits of Pelvic Tilt Exercises in Pregnancy

One of the biggest benefits of doing pelvic tilt exercises during pregnancy—and perhaps one of the most needed—is a reduction in back and joint pain. “Postural changes accompanied with pregnancy generally cause a sway back posture, which in some cases can cause back, hip, knee, pelvic or foot pain,” Kliebert says. “A posterior pelvic tilt can help ease these pains in a pregnant person by correcting the typical posture shifts seen in pregnancy, which can take the strain off the joints in the low back, legs and accompanying musculature.”

In other words, posterior pelvic tilts can help counteract a pregnant person’s tendency to walk and stand with their hips forward and growing belly sticking out, which is one of the primary drivers of pain, especially in the second and third trimesters.   

On the flip side, Kliebert says anterior pelvic tilts can help ease round ligament pain, the sharp, pulling pain often felt in the lower belly and groin area during the second and third trimesters.

When to Do Pelvic Tilts During Pregnancy

Pelvic tilts can be done throughout pregnancy and starting them early can help prevent the development of later issues. “Performing these movements throughout early and mid pregnancy (first and second trimester) are great exercises to assist in maintaining good spinal mobility, which later becomes very important for labor and birth,” notes Kliebert. This can also give you better control of your pelvis, adds Stockel, which can help a pregnant person find the optimal position in which to deliver.

While posterior pelvic tilt exercises are safe to do throughout pregnancy, Kliebert recommends exercising caution when doing anterior pelvic tilts during the late second and third trimesters. “The body’s postural changes already promote more of an arch in the back, so you do not want to push to an extreme amount.” That said, it’s really about how you feel. “The biggest thing is to listen to your body,” says Kliebert. “If it feels good, do it! If not, your body isn’t needing that movement.” 

Benefits of Pelvic Tilt Exercises Postpartum

There are numerous perks to continuing with pelvic tilt exercises after giving birth. “Both vaginal delivery and cesarean sections can cause trauma to the pelvic floor muscles,” explains Stockel. “In most cases, we have to reconnect to the muscles within our core, pelvic floor, and hips. This can mean relearning how to engage and use these muscles. Pelvic tilts are a great way to gently strengthen the core and pelvic floor.”

They can also help you rediscover your proper pre-pregnancy posture. “Posterior pelvic tilting can stretch the low back muscles, which typically tighten from postural changes in pregnancy,” says Kliebert. “Pelvic tilts are also great postural correction exercises because holding and feeding a baby, whether chest or bottle feeding, typically promotes a slouched posture.”

Kliebert adds that posterior pelvic tilts can assist with healing diastasis recti, when the rectus abdominis muscles separate during pregnancy and cause a bulge on the belly.

When to Do Pelvic Tilt Exercises Postpartum

Pelvic tilt exercises can be done almost immediately after giving birth. Since they are small movements that can be done in a seated or lying down position, the sooner a postpartum person begins to heal their pelvic floor the better.

How to Do Pelvic Tilts

There are a few different positions from which you can complete pelvic tilt exercises. While the movement is generally safe, there are positions that will be safer and more beneficial depending on your stage of pregnancy or if you’re postpartum.

If you're pregnant, the recommendation is to do the exercises standing or kneeling.

“Since I am usually doing pelvic tilts with my third-trimester clients, I don’t like them to have to change levels too much, I don’t like them lying on their back for too long, and I don’t love the all-fours position because it puts a lot of pressure on your abdominals and low back,” explains Stockel.

Stockel goes on to say it's better for postpartum people to do pelvic tilt exercises on their backs or on their hands and knees. “This is the easiest way to reengage the core and pelvic floor muscles (with the help of gravity!). On all fours, there are a wide variety of pelvic tilt exercises.”

Another thing to keep in mind: Don’t forget about your breathing as you do the exercises. “You always want to make sure that you are coupling your breath work with the pelvic tilt. Inhale for anterior pelvic tilt, exhale for posterior pelvic tilt,” Stockel says. “We never want to hold our breath as it creates too much intra-abdominal pressure for our prenatal and postpartum bodies.”

Here are three helpful variations on pelvic tilts.

Standing Against a Wall

To start, stand against a wall with your upper back, butt and heels all touching. “You should have a little space between your low back and the wall,” notes Stockel, to accommodate the natural curve of the spine. Take a large inhale, then exhale and press your lower back into the wall (completing a posterior pelvic tilt). Inhale and release, letting the space between your lower back and the wall reopen, then exhale and repeat. Do 15 slow repetitions.

Pelvic Clocks

This exercise will move your pelvis through posterior, anterior, and lateral pelvic tilts, making it an excellent all-over strengthener. Start on all fours and envision your butt as a pencil, suggests Stockel. From there, circle your pelvis to draw a circle on the wall behind you, keeping your shoulders steady over your hands and breathing throughout. Do 10 repetitions in one direction, then 10 in the
other direction.

Lying Down

These pelvic tilts are similar to those against a wall, but you are lying down so you can focus entirely on the movement of your pelvic floor muscles. On a soft surface, lay with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. “Inhale, then exhale and flatten your back, drawing your belly button down to your spine and tucking your tailbone underneath you,” says Kliebert. Inhale and release, then exhale and repeat. Do 15 slow repetitions.

Who Shouldn't Do Pelvic Tilts?

While pelvic tilts are generally safe, there are a few instances in which Kliebert would not recommend them. These include postpartum people with diastasis recti and pelvic floor tension and/or prolapse. In these cases, the lack of connection and control over the deep core and pelvic floor muscles may prevent them from doing pelvic tilts effectively.

What’s more, exercises should never be completed in a position that causes pain or discomfort. That’s why Stockel recommends that people in their third trimester avoid doing pelvic tilts on their back or on all fours, which can create too much intra-abdominal pressure.

A Word From Verywell

There are lots of pains that come with pregnancy, among them lower back and round ligament pain. But doing pelvic tilt exercises during pregnancy and postpartum can strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, abdominals, and back to combat these aches. For further advice on pelvic tilts and other exercises that can be beneficial during pregnancy, speak with your OB/GYN or healthcare provider, a pelvic floor physical therapist, or a pre and postnatal fitness expert.

2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Cedars Sinai. Back Pain During Pregnancy.

  2. ACOG. Physical Activity and Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period.

By Alyssa Sybertz
Alyssa has been writing about health and wellness since 2013. Her work has appeared in print in publications like FIRST for Women, Woman's World, and Closer Weekly and online at places like,, and She is the author of The OMAD Diet and has served as editor-in-chief for two magazines about intermittent fasting.