Are you suffering from excruciating back pain during pregnancy? Don’t worry, you are not alone. The majority of pregnant women experience back pain at some point during their pregnancy, making it one of the most common issues during this time.
Back pain during pregnancy is inevitable but there are certainly ways to make you feel better and prevent the pain. There’s no reason to allow your back pain to deprive you of a good night’s sleep.
To combat nagging back pain and stop it from disrupting your daily activities, we have gathered information that will help you understand and cope with the situation better.
Contents & Quick Navigation
- The Main Causes of Back Pain During Pregnancy
- Treatments and Home Remedies for Back Pain
- Seeking Help from Your Healthcare Provider
- Some Final Words
The Main Causes of Back Pain During Pregnancy
Some women suffer from back pain throughout their pregnancy that gets worse as the pregnancy progresses. Severe back pain could lead to some major issues that we will be discussing later in the article.
Apart from that, there are quite a good number of reasons you could be experiencing that dull ache down your spine.
Let’s get to know a bit more about them below:
1. Your Center of Gravity has Changed
During Pregnancy, your center of gravity shifts forward to support the growing baby in your uterus and to help you balance your weight. This change in your usual posture and the different range of movement is what causes your back pain.
2. Muscle Separation Occurs
The two parallel sheets of muscles that run from the rib cage to the pubic bone separate along the center seam as your uterus expands. The separation in the muscles and expansion often causes throbbing back pain during pregnancy.
3. Additional Weight During Pregnancy
A pregnant woman usually gains a lot of extra weight during pregnancy that the spine has to support. There is increased pressure on the blood vessels and nerves in the pelvis which causes strain on the spinal cord.
4. Poor Posture Could be the Culprit
Prolonged standing, sitting, bending over, and lifting heavy objects could put pressure on your spinal cord and cause unbearable lower back pain.
5. The Sudden Increase of Hormones
During pregnancy, hormones such as relaxin are released into the body to help the ligaments in the pelvic region and joints to relax and loosen up in preparation for giving birth.
This change in the body leads to spinal instability and back pain during pregnancy.
6. Emotional Stress
Doctors usually recommend pregnant women to remove all of the stress-causing factors in their lives. The reason for this is because when a pregnant woman goes through emotional stress, it leads to muscle tension in her back.
During stressful situations in pregnancy, a woman often experiences an increase in back pain.
Treatments and Home Remedies for Back Pain
With so many factors coming into play, it’s hard to expect a pregnancy without any back pain.
However, the good news is that if you didn’t have chronic back pain prior to your pregnancy then there are ways to help you deal with the pain during pregnancy.
We have gathered some helpful tips for you to put into practice that will help you cope with the pain.
1. Practice Good Posture Whenever You Can
Keeping your balance with a growing baby in your belly is not an easy task. You will be leaning back naturally to adjust to the change and this is where good posture comes into play.
Here’s how to work on your posture:
a. Sitting with Support
Place a rolled towel behind your back while sitting at a desk. Sit up straight by resting your foot on something high and relax your shoulders. Try to take regular breaks from prolonged periods of sitting and stand up whenever possible.
b. Sleeping and Getting Out of Bed
Place a pregnancy pillow between your knees to decrease the pressure on your back. When getting out of bed, bend your knees and hips while rolling onto your side gently.
Use your arms to push yourself up and out of bed slowly.
c. Walking or Standing
Avoid walking or standing for a prolonged period of time. If you are required to stand for long periods, find support to rest one of your legs. Sit down whenever you can as standing puts pressure on your spinal cord.
d. Wearing the Proper Support Gear
Avoid high heels at all cost as they don’t fully support your weight and could cause strain on your feet and back. Opt for flat and slightly arched shoes that distribute your weight evenly on the ground.
You could also wear a supporting maternity belt to ease the pressure on your back and abdomen.
2. Exercising and Lifting
Doctors recommend light exercise for pregnant women. Basic exercises, such as walking or swimming should be carried out regularly. Exercising during pregnancy is important because it helps strengthen your muscles and makes your joints more flexible for childbirth.
As a result, your spine will be able to take the extra pressure without making it painful for you. You should be careful while lifting heavy objects during pregnancy. Avoid bending over to pick anything up. Instead, squat down and put the pressure on your legs.
Try joining a prenatal yoga class with an experienced yoga trainer who will guide you in mild exercises, such as stretching. Prenatal yoga classes could help to build up your muscle strength and relieve you from lower back pain.
3. Sleeping On Your Side
You are advised to sleep on your left side during pregnancy. Forget about sleeping on your back. Bend one or both of your legs while sleeping on your side. Place a soft pillow between your knees for extra support and comfort.
You could also consider investing in a good mattress that supports the natural curves of your body and embraces them at the right points.
4. Trying Heat and Cold Compress
Apply warm or cold compresses to your back and on the affected areas to get relief from back pain temporarily. You can regularly apply hot or cold compresses for 20 minutes. Just be sure to clear it with your doctor first.
Avoid letting the compresses come into contact with your abdomen.
5. Give Complementary Therapies a Try
Pregnant women often experience full body aches along with back pain. To ease the pain, many choose to take the aid of complementary therapies. Don’t forget to ask your health care provider before taking any sort of therapy.
A general massage treatment from a professional can make you feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Your muscles will feel less painful and eventually you could get rid of the lingering back pain – even for a short period of time.
You need to be careful while choosing a chiropractor. Make sure that they are experienced with pregnant women. And if it is carried out well, you will be feeling light on your spine.
Acupuncture is a process where very thin needles are inserted at certain pressure points. The method could turn out to be very effective for relieving back pain.
To ease back pain, pregnant women usually try over-the-counter medicines like Acetaminophen (Tylenol) that usually work well for expectant mothers.
It is better to avoid medications like Aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil) or Naproxen (Aleve) that are not recommended by doctors for pregnant women.
In certain cases, your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants or other pain relief drugs that are safe for you and your baby’s health.
If none of these methods help with your back pain, it’s a good idea to visit your doctor to discuss what other things you could do to relieve back pain.
Seeking Help from Your Healthcare Provider
If you are stuck with severe lower back pain that just does not seem to go away with home remedies or medications then it’s important to contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Back pain could be a symptom of a greater underlying issue that needs to be addressed to prevent any harm to both you and your growing baby.
Look out for issues such as:
- Excruciating back pain that lasts longer than two weeks
- Severe back pain that increases suddenly
- Rhythmic cramping pain that is unbearable
- Pain in one or both sides of your ribs
- Feeling numbness in your hands, feet or any other parts of your body
- Difficulty urinating/burning sensation when you pee
- Vaginal bleeding with back pain
- These symptoms could indicate pregnancy-related problems like urinary tract infection, osteoporosis, septic arthritis, vertebral osteoarthritis, and preterm labor.
Seek medical attention right away if you have one or more symptoms from the above list.
Some Final Words
Most women are victims of back pain during pregnancy. However, if your back pain interferes with your daily activities and keeps you from resting well at night, it’s important to address the issue and talk to your healthcare provider.
We hope we have helped you understand the problems you may be facing and the ways you can relieve yourself from the pain.
Pay attention to your changing body and you’ll sail through pregnancy in good health.