A good number of pregnant women will experience back pain at some point in their pregnancy. Backache is one of the most common pregnancy symptoms.
And, unfortunately for some women, backache starts early on in pregnancy and persists or worsens until they give birth.
Causes of Back Pain in Pregnant Women
There are many possible reasons why pregnant women experience back pain. Some of the most likely causes of back pain in pregnant women are:
1. Weight gain
The weight of the growing baby and uterus puts pressure on the blood vessels and nerves in the pelvis and back. The extra weight you’re carrying means more work for your muscles and increased stress on your joints, which is why you feel pain in your lower back.
2. Posture changes
Pregnancy shifts your center of gravity. As a result, you may gradually -even without noticing- begin to adjust your posture and the way you move. This may result in back pain or strain.
3. Hormonal changes
During pregnancy, your body makes a hormone called relaxin which causes your ligaments to stretch and joints to loosen in preparation for the birthing process. The same hormone can cause ligaments that support the spine to loosen, leading to instability and pain.
Emotional stress can cause muscle tension in the back, which may be felt as back pain or back spasms. You may find that you experience an increase in back pain during stressful periods of your pregnancy.
Preventing Back Pain
Making sure your body is fit and healthy before getting pregnant can help prevent back pain. Pregnany-approved exercises can also lower the risks of developing pregnancy-related back pain.
Women who are unaccustomed to exercise are advised to take things slowly. Keeping a moderate exercise regimen, having the correct posture, refraining from lifting heavy objects, and taking good care of the back can ensure the prevention of pregnancy-related back pain.
If lifting is unavoidable, knees should be bent, the back kept straight, and the object held close to the body as possible.
Ways to Alleviate Back Pain
1.) Watch your posture
Watch your posture when you’re sitting. 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 as this can cause your pelvis to tilt forward, worsening those strained back muscles.
Slouching should be avoided, and the back should be arched whenever possible. It is advisable use a cushion or a cushioned ring to make sitting more comfortable.
Massage can result in considerable relief for tired and aching muscles. One relaxing method is to lean over the back of a chair or lie on one side while the muscles on both sides of the lower spine are massaged. Massage performed by a massage therapist, a midwife, or a physiotherapist may further relieve back pain.
3.) Heat and water
Taking a warm and soothing bath, using a hot pack, or even a warm water shower can alleviate symptoms of back pain.
4.) Wearing a support belt
A maternity or support belt can help hold up the baby’s weight, easing the strain on the stomach and back muscles.
5.) Using a support pillow
Sleeping on one side with a wedged-shaped pillow beneath the tummy can lessen back pain.
6.) Strength and stability exercises
Exercises involving the pelvis and lower abdominals can strengthen back and stomach muscles to help support the baby’s weight. One example of a simple and safe abdominal exercise involves getting down on the floor on the hands and knees, making sure the back is in a level position. While breathing in and out, the belly button is pulled in towards the spine and the back held immobile for 5 to 10 seconds. The stomach muscles are then allowed to relax after each contraction.
Scientific research has shown swimming and other water exercises can significantly decrease pregnancy-related back pain.
8.) Wear the right shoes
High heels are not made for pregnant women. While you would like to still look like a diva, have pity on yourself and your unborn child. Experts recommend at most a 2-inch heel to keep your body in proper alignment.
9.) Avoid stress
Avoid stressful situations and try to calm down and unwind if you begin to feel stressed. Think good thoughts. A calm mind leads to a looser back.
10.) Avoid excessive weight gain
Keep your weight gain steady as extra weight will put more pressure on your back.