About two-thirds of women experience back pain during pregnancy. There is no denying it; your body goes through a ton of changes during pregnancy, physical and hormonal. These changes contribute to swollen feet, leg cramps, fatigue, and lower back pain.
Why does back pain happen during pregnancy?
Back pain is common during pregnancy, especially in the second and third trimesters. Certain factors such as frequent back pain prior to pregnancy or being overweight contribute to your risk of developing back pain during pregnancy. Back pain is relatively easy to manage during pregnancy with the right tools and lifestyle changes.
Main causes of back pain during pregnancy
- During pregnancy, hormonal changes in your body cause your ligaments and joints to relax. This allows your pelvic floor and hips to expand to make room for your growing belly. When joints and ligaments move, it may cause back pain in your lower back.
- Gravity may be your best friend when you are preparing for labor. Gravity helps push your baby down the birth canal to prepare for birth. However, Gravity also plays a role in your poor posture during pregnancy. With all the added weight you carry in your abdomen, it is going to make it harder for you to distribute your weight evenly to keep your back in alignment. Also, actively keeping perfect posture is more difficult as well. Be mindful and stay alert to your posture throughout the day. It is important to keep your feet shoulder-width apart, keep your knees slightly bent to prevent buckling, and your shoulders need to be down and slightly rotated back. A proper posture is a good habit to create before, during, and after pregnancy. Maintaining good posture may alleviate the severity of your back pain.
- Most women gain between 20 and 25lbs during pregnancy. During the first trimester, it is common to gain between 2 to 4lbs. After your first trimester, gaining 1lb a week is common until delivery. It is possible to gain too much weight during pregnancy. The common phrase “eat for two” is not always true. While it is important to increase your caloric intake during pregnancy, you need to be mindful of how much and what type of food you eat during pregnancy. With added weight gain, you will experience back pain because there is more weight for your ligaments to carry. Also, you carry most of your weight in your belly, affecting your posture. Poor posture will affect your back, causing pain.
- Bringing a new baby into the world is very exciting. However, it can be stressful as well. There is a lot to prepare for when you are getting ready for a new addition to your family. Our bodies respond to stress in emotional and physical ways. When stressed, our bodies respond by tensing up and causing stiffness to our muscles and ligaments. Prenatal massages and prenatal yoga are great for relieving stress on our body and relaxing our minds.
Can I relieve back pain while pregnant?
Back pain cannot be prevented during pregnancy due to your constantly changing body, but it can be relieved with things you can do at home.
Tips to alleviate back pain during pregnancy
You can do many exercises at home to help alleviate back pain such as pelvic tilts or wall squats. However, many women find it helpful to do prenatal yoga to help with back pain. Prenatal yoga is great because it provides both exercise and stress relief. Consider trying a prenatal yoga class near you or online.
Sleeping on your side
Sleeping on your side is not just safe for your baby, but it is also very beneficial to you. For example, sleeping on your left side helps blood circulation to your heart and helps with proper neck and back alignment. Alignment is essential when you are pregnant because your posture is often compromised when doing daily activities and carrying extra baby weight.
During pregnancy, women are advised to not lift any heavy objects over 20lbs. However, if you are lifting an object, be sure to bend at the knees while keeping a straight back. Bending at your waist to pick up an item harms your back and causes added strain. Be sure to ask for help if you feel the object is too heavy to lift.
Wear a maternity support belt
The Upsie Belly band is designed to help ease the strain of pregnancy on your lower back. The belly band gently lifts and redistributes the weight of your pregnant belly from your pelvic joints and ligaments. The Upsie belly band grows with you and your baby throughout pregnancy. With a 12” adjustable strap, you can have support throughout your pregnancy or when you need it the most. One of the added benefits of the belly band is the compartment for a hot/cold gel pack. The Upsie Gel pack is made to fit perfectly in the Upsie pregnancy support band. The gel pack is easy to freeze in simply 30 minutes or in the microwave for 30 seconds. In addition, the gel pack is reusable for continuous comfort.
When to see a doctor
There is usually no reason for concern when you are experiencing back pain during pregnancy. However, if you are experiencing severe back pain that does not go away with over-the-counter medicine or rest, it may be time to visit your doctor. Also, back pain similar to a pulsing sensation could be a sign of early labor. Contact your doctor if you are experiencing pulsating pain in your back or rhythmic cramping pains prior to your due date. In rare cases, severe back pain could be a sign of a more serious condition such as osteoporosis or septic arthritis. However, these conditions are very rare, and your doctor can properly diagnose the cause of your back pain.
Back pain is one of the many common symptoms and side effects of pregnancy. The good news is that it is manageable with exercise and lifestyle changes. Always be sure to check with your doctor if you are concerned about your back pain. Pregnancy belly bands are an amazing addition to your maternity care. They help distribute the weight and decrease back pain. In addition, they are affordable and recommended by many OBGYN’s.