Pregnancy is wonderful, but boy is it uncomfortable. Back pain in pregnancy is one of most annoying parts of expecting a baby. This type of pain is one of those health issues you don’t see coming. You just look up one day and bam! It’s there. Suffering with a stiff, achy back during pregnancy can be the result of several things. A pregnant women with back pain. For one, the increased hormones in your body soften the ligaments and joints in your pelvic area in order to prepare your body for childbirth.
This weakens the normal support of the back and makes it more susceptible to the stress and strain of everyday activities. Carting around the extra weight of your belly can also do a number on your back by causing extra strain on your spine – the bigger the belly, the worse the strain. As your belly grows, it causes your center of gravity to shift forward, which can easily result in poor posture and back strain. In addition to raging hormones, extra weight and your shifting center of gravity, being stressed out during pregnancy can cause your back to hurt.
Stress has a way of zoning in on weak spots in the body. The soft ligaments and joints in your pelvic area would certainly classify as a weakness in the body. Because of this, you may experience back pain whenever you get stressed out.
If you have back pain and want to send it packing, try some of these methods:
1. Get a Massage
A massage can boost your circulation, help release toxins from the body, loosen knotted muscles and ease back pain. When you’re pregnant, trying to massage your own back won’t work very well. So either enlist the help of your significant other or hire a licensed masseuse.
Although there’s nothing wrong with a homemade massage from a significant other, you’ll likely get better results from someone who knows what she’s doing. If you can afford to get a rubdown from a pro, go for it!
2. Alternate the use of heat and ice
Heat relaxes muscle while ice reduces inflammation. Alternating the use of a hot water bottle or heating pad for 10 minutes and an ice pack for 10 minutes can help give you a break from your achy back. If you use a heating pad or hot water bottle, cover it with a thin cloth to prevent burns to the skin.
3. Soak in a Warm Bath
A warm bath can help soothe back pain by reducing stress and relieving achy muscles. Keep the water warm, not hot! Remember, your fetus is trapped inside a giant belly with no air circulation. If you make the water too hot, he can overheat.
4. Sleep on your side, not on your back
Even in the early stages of pregnancy, sleeping on your back can contribute to back pain. Instead of snoozing on your back, sleep on your side with your knees bent and a pillow wedged between them. Also, position a pillow underneath your abdomen to help support the weight and to help take the strain off your back.
5. Get Some Physical Activity
When you’re pregnant and tired, sitting around like a lump is tempting, but being sedentary during pregnancy can wreak havoc on your back. Regular exercise helps keep the muscles that support your back strong. For optimum results, get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days.
Recommended forms of exercise for expecting mothers include walking, low impact aerobics, swimming, stationary biking and pregnancy yoga. Some situations such as vaginal bleeding and preeclampsia may require you to abstain from exercise. Talk to your doctor before you start any type of exercise program while you’re pregnant.
6. See a chiropractor
A chiropractor may be able to offer you an alternative therapy such as acupuncture for your back pain. If you plan to see a chiropractor, talk to your doctor first. He may want to rule out serious underlying conditions. Also, choose a chiropractor who is knowledgeable in caring for pregnant mothers.
7. Wear a Support Device
Lugging around a belly that’s five times its normal size can be tough on your back. Wearing a pregnancy support device on a regular basis can help support the weight of your stomach and relieve the strain on your back.
What About Pain Medications?
According to clover sisters taking pain medication unnecessarily is not something you want to do while you’re pregnant. However, if the pain in your back is unbearable and none of the above solutions offer relief, your obstetrician may find it necessary to recommend an over the counter pain medication like acetaminophen to give you relief.
*No matter how tempting, never take pain medications without your doctor’s consent.
Can I Keep Back Pain from Coming Back?
- There is no guarantee back pain in pregnancy won’t keep coming back. However, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of keeping the condition at bay.
- Snoozing on your side is not only a good way to get relief from existing back pain, it can help keep it from coming back. Remember to keep a pillow between your knees and under your tummy for support.
- Practice good posture throughout your pregnancy. When you sit down, keep your back straight and your shoulders back. Place a small pillow behind your lower back for support.
- Try not to stand up for long stints of time. When you do have to stand for a long time, keep your shoulders back, your knees slightly bent and your feet shoulder width apart.
- Find ways to reduce stress. Meditation, deep breathing techniques, regular exercise and regular massages can keep stress down and help prevent back pain.
- If you have a low, dull aching pain in your back, contact your doctor. This may be a sign of preterm labor.
- Also, if your back pain is severe, persistent or is accompanied by vaginal bleeding, it could signal something serious and may need immediate attention.
About the author:
Alice Clover has devoted her life to uncovering the secrets of health and beauty. In addition to her studies in such areas as nutrition, therapeutic massage and skin care, she has spent years studying with master practitioners in Tibetan medicine.