Back Pain During Pregnancy
It is very common to experience back pain or backache during the pregnancy period, especially in the early stages. During pregnancy, the ligaments in the body naturally soften and stretch to prepare you for childbirth. This can stress the lower back and pelvic joints, which can lead to back pain.
Back Pain During Pregnancy
Back pain during pregnancy usually takes the form of aches, pain, stiffness, and pain in the upper or lower back and hips – which can sometimes spread to the buttocks and legs.
When Does Back Pain Start & End During Pregnancy?
Unfortunately, back pain can start quite early in pregnancy. Some women experience this pain during the first trimester, but for many women, low back pain starts around the 18th week of the second trimester. It can persist or sometimes get worse as the second–trimester advances, and especially in the third trimester until delivery (it is sometimes replaced by postpartum pain after childbirth).
Causes of Back Pain During Early Pregnancy
There are many factors you experience in pregnancy that contribute to back pain. For some women, this is an early sign of pregnancy. If you suffer from back pain in the first trimester, there might be a few culprits.
Stress & Anxiety
Stress and anxiety might cause back pain whether you are pregnant or not. It can increase muscle strain and pain, especially in areas of weakness. Different issues like fear of work, pregnancy, or anything that disturbs the hormones could worsen the pain.
During pregnancy, the body produces hormones that help loosen and soften the joints and ligaments in the pelvis. This is important for the baby to be born later in pregnancy. But the hormones don’t just work in the pelvis – they move through the entire body and affect all of the joints. In the first trimester of pregnancy, this loosening and softening of joints and ligaments can directly affect the back. This often feels like pains and aches.
2. Second & Third Trimester
Other factors can play a role in making back pain worse, as the pregnancy progresses.
The spine also has to support the increasing weight of a growing fetus, which can strain the muscles. This weight gain is inevitable. Women who are overweight or suffering from back pain before pregnancy are more likely to have pregnancy-related back pain.
Center of Gravity Shifts
The Center of gravity slowly moves forward, as the belly enlarges. This can cause changes in posture that affect the way you move, sit, stand, and sleep. Poor posture, prolonged standing, and bending over can trigger or exaggerate back pain.
How to Avoid & Prevent Back Pain in Pregnancy?
Consider the following ways to relieve pregnancy-related backache.
- Practice good posture: As the baby grows, the center of gravity shifts forward. To evade falling forward – you may recoup by leaning back. This can put a strain on the spinal muscles and contribute to back pain in pregnant women. Keep the following principles of good posture in mind:
- Hold the chest high.
- Stand straight and upright.
- Keep the shoulders back and relaxed.
When standing, use a comfortable, wide posture for the best support. If you have to stand for long periods, put one foot on a low chair and take time for frequent breaks. Good posture also means sitting with caution. Choose a chair that supports the back or place a small pillow behind the back.
When lifting a small object, bend down and use your legs to lift it. Avoid lifting with your back and don’t bend at the waist. Knowing your limits is also important. Seek help when you need it.
Sleep on your side
Sleep on your side, not your back. Keep one or both knees bent. Use support or pregnancy pillows between the bent knees, behind the back, and under the belly.
Get the essential stuff
Wear low-heeled shoes, not flats, with good arch support. Avoid high-heeled shoes, as they might shift the balance forward and lead to a fall. You can also wear a maternity belt. Although research on the effectiveness of maternity belts is limited, some women find additional aids supportive.
Try massage & heat or cold therapy
While evidence of its effectiveness is limited, massaging, or applying an ice pack or heating pad to the back can help.
Adopt regular physical activities
During the pregnancy period, well-planned physical activities can keep your back strong and also help in relieving backache. With the doctor’s consent, try moderate activities such as walking, swimming, or steady cycling. A physical therapist can also suggest some exercises and stretches that could help.
Consider complementary treatments
The study recommends that acupuncture can contribute to relieving pregnancy-related back pain. For some women, chiropractic treatment also provides comfort. Discuss the matter with your doctor when trying any complementary treatment in pregnancy.
When to Seek Help For Back Pain in Pregnancy
If your backache is extremely excruciating, talk to the doctor. They might be able to refer you to an obstetric physical therapist in the hospital who can advise you and suggest some helpful exercises.
Contact your doctor as early as possible if you have back pain and you:
- Are in the second or third trimester of pregnancy – this could be an indication of premature labor
- Have pain on one or more of the sides (below the ribs)
- Lose sensation in one or both legs, buttocks, or genitals
- Also have a fever, vaginal bleeding, or pain when urinating
Back pain is a common part of pregnancy. Several factors can contribute to back pain in pregnant women, including:
- Weight gain
- Postural changes
- Increased hormone levels
- Stress on the body
- Muscle separation
Pregnancy-related backache commonly goes away on its own after delivery. Severe back pain that lasts more than two weeks may need physical therapy or medical treatment.
Women must speak to their doctor before starting any new treatments or medications while pregnant.
If you are interested in learning more about health and wellness, I encourage you to schedule an appointment with one of our trusted practitioners at SHIN Wellness. We offer many holistic treatments such as Decompression Therapy, Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Neurofeedback, Psychology, Reiki, Nutrition, Corrective Exercises, and Massage. If you need some help figuring out what service is right for you, try our personalized consultation. Our Wellness Center and Chiropractor office in Miami Florida specializes in restoring your health!