Back Pain During Pregnancy
It is not uncommon to experience back pain during pregnancy. In fact, 50-80% of women will experience some type of back pain during their pregnancy. Back pain can occur anytime during the pregnancy but becomes more likely later in the pregnancy, as the weight of the baby increases.
As the baby grows, your center of mass moves forward. This causes postural changes and puts atypical stresses on the spine. During pregnancy, hormones are released in the body to allow the ligaments in the pelvic area to soften to prepare for the birthing process. This softening of the ligaments may also change the stresses on your back. Lastly, you gain weight during pregnancy, therefore increasing stress on the spine.
Here are some tips to relieve back pain during pregnancy:
It is important to stand tall and try not to compensate for the bigger belly by leaning back. Keep your knees relaxed when standing, do not lock them out. Relax your shoulders, keep them back and down. Stand with your back against a wall to check for proper posture. The back of your head, back, bottom and legs should be touching the wall.
When picking something up off the ground, it is very important to bend your knees. Do not bend over at the waist or back, as that increases atypical stresses on the spine which can cause pain.
Sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees. This helps to put your spine in proper alignment.
Heat or cold
Applying heat or ice to the painful area may help to decrease pain.
Regular exercise is important during pregnancy. Safe exercise includes walking, swimming and cycling. A physical therapist can recommend exercises to help strengthen your core and decrease pain.
Here are a few examples of exercises you can try:
While lying on your back, use your stomach muscles to press your spine downwards towards the ground.
Do not move into a painful position.
While on your hands and knees in a crawl position, raise up your back and arch it towards the ceiling.
Next, return to a lowered position and arch your back the opposite direction.
Seated Marching with Pelvic Tilt
It is most important that you maintain good posture for entire time while performing exercise.
It is important to know that back pain during pregnancy can be a sign of preterm labor. Also, back pain during pregnancy that’s accompanied by other symptoms can be a sign of an underlying problem. If you have questions or concerns about your back pain, please contact your health care provider.
- Mayo Clinic, Back pain during pregnancy 7 tips for relief. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy/art-20046080. Accessed March 21, 2015.
- American Pregnancy Association, Back pain during pregnancy. Available at: http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/back-pain-during-pregnancy/. Accessed March 21, 2015.
- HEP2Go. Available at: http://www.hep2go.com. Accessed November 28, 2014.