According to the Mayo Clinic, at least 50% of women experience back pain during pregnancy. But there are some steps you can take to relieve it. The primary culprits include the extra weight of the baby; the change in your center of gravity, which causes your stance to change; and the hormone relaxin, which loosens the ligaments between your pelvic bones.
In order to help alleviate back pain (even after your pregnancy, when you will be carrying and lifting your child), follow these basic tips from the Mayo Clinic.
1. Maintain Good Posture
Focus on standing and sitting properly: tuck your buttocks under, keep shoulders back and downward, and keep your back straight. In late pregnancy, make sure you are not overcompensating for your belly weight by pulling your shoulders too far back, which can strain your back. Your doctor can help you find a proper stance when your baby’s weight becomes uncomfortable.
2. Relieve Pressure
When seated, raise your feet slightly on an ottoman or small stool, and try to shift your position frequently. Don’t cross your legs, even though this may be a tough habit to break. When standing, rest one foot on a low step stool, and make sure you take sitting breaks as often as possible.
3. Sleep Properly
To relieve pressure on the vein that carries blood from your legs to your heart, as well as for general comfort, get into the habit of sleeping on your side with your knees bent. You can use pillows to help get comfortable. Try placing a pillow between your knees and under your abdomen. You can also purchase a special body pillow to keep under your abdomen.
4. Avoid Lifting
If you need to lift small objects, use proper lifting posture: bend at the knees, not at the waist. Avoid lifting heavy objects or children during your pregnancy. And try not to stretch high above your head or reach for something with sudden movements.
5. Wear Supportive Clothing
As your pregnancy progresses, you may notice that your feet are a little larger and your shoes are too tight. So as you head off to the mall to purchase new shoes, buy only supportive, flat-heeled shoes. Even if your existing shoes still fit, avoid wearing your high-heeled shoes. When purchasing maternity clothes, look for pants with a low, supportive waistband. You can also purchase a maternity support belt.
6. Seek Relief
Use warm wet towels, a hot water bottle or a warm bath to relax your back muscles. You might also try alternating heat with ice packs. Or talk with your doctor about local spas that offer pregnancy massages.
7. Keep Physically Fit
Under the guidance of your physician, stay as physically active as possible. Exercise can help to keep your back strong. Consider swimming, walking, or a prenatal exercise or yoga class. The Mayo Clinic also describes a helpful stretch called the pelvic tilt or cat stretch: “Kneel on your hands and knees with your head in line with your back. Pull in your abdomen, arching your spine upward. Hold the position for several seconds, then relax your abdomen and back. Repeat three to five times, working gradually up to 10.”
8. Talk with Your Doctor
Your physician can recommend additional stretching exercises that are safe for you and your baby. The Mayo Clinic advises, “Pain in your back may be a sign of a more serious problem if it’s severe and unrelenting or if it’s accompanied by other signs and symptoms. A low, dull backache may be a sign of labor or preterm labor. So, it’s best not to ignore your aching back.”
Medical information within this site is not intended for use in the diagnosis or treatment of any health condition. Please consult a licensed health care professional for the treatment or diagnosis of any medical condition.
Source: The Mayo Clinic