For pregnant women, back pain during pregnancy is not a trivial matter. If not addressed, pregnancy pain can have a negative impact on your daily lifestyle, from possibly causing missed time from work to making your delivery more difficult.
What causes back pain in pregnancy?
When your belly becomes bigger throughout your pregnancy, your lower back curves more than usual to deal with the load, resulting in strained muscles and, you guessed it, pain. In addition, your growing uterus shifts your center of gravity forward, adding even more pressure on your lower back. Add to the mix a hormone called relaxin that can cause your ligaments to stretch and joints to loosen, and you’ve got one hurting back. The good news about backache during pregnancy is that it’s curable. There are many ways to relieve it, so if one solution doesn’t work, another probably will.
What You Can Do About It
- Watch your posture when you’re sitting, which puts more strain on your spine than anything else. At home and at work, make sure the chairs you use most provide good support, preferably with a straight back, arms, and a firm cushion. Use a footrest to elevate your feet slightly, and don’t cross your legs; that can cause your pelvis to tilt forward, exacerbating those strained back muscles.
- Take breaks by walking or standing and stretching at least once an hour. Sitting too long can make your back hurt even more.
- Try not to stand too long, either. If you work on your feet, try to place one foot on a low stool to take some pressure off your lower back.
- Avoid lifting heavy loads, but if you must, do it slowly. Stabilize yourself by assuming a wide stance; bend at the knees, not at the waist; and lift with your arms and legs, not your back.
- Maintain your weight gain where it must be (extra weight is extra hard on any back).
- Wear the proper shoes. Extremely high heels are out – as are completely flat ones. Experts recommend a 2-inch heel to keep your body in proper alignment.
- Ensure your your bed is firm. If not, place a board underneath for the duration. A body pillow (at least 5 feet long) can also aid you find stress-minimizing sleeping positions.
- Consider a crisscross support sling designed specifically for a pregnant figure, which will help take the burden of your belly’s weight off your lower back.
- No reaching for the things on the top shelf. Use a low, stable, step stool to get items from high places and you’ll avoid additional strain.
- Think good thoughts, be optimistic. A calm mind leads to a looser back. You should try some yoga, which will relax both your mind and your back.
- Do pelvic tilts to strengthen your abs.
- Soothe sore muscles by putting on cold compresses, then warm compresses in 15-minute intervals.
- Have a warm bath (ask your partner to draw it for you). Or turn the shower head to pulsating and enjoy the back massage.
- Talking about massages, go get one (after the first trimester and with a masseuse who knows you’re pregnant and is trained in the art of prenatal massage).
- If pain is significant, ask your practitioner about physical therapists, alternative medicine specialists (such as acupuncturists), or chiropractors who might be able to help.