Low back pain or lumbar is extremely common during pregnancy. As a matter of fact, 50-70% of pregnant women experience back pain at some point during their pregnancy. Although it can occur at any point between conception and childbirth, it is most frequently troublesome late in a pregnancy. There are things that can be done to help manage back pain.
Causes of Back Pain During Pregnancy
- Implantation- Many women experience low back pain during early pregnancy when the newly formed embryo implants into your uterus. This can cause aching pain and cramping in your back.
- Hormonal Changes- When you are expecting, your body produces a wide variety of hormones, one of which is called relaxin. Relaxin’s job is to relax and loosen the tissues of your body in order to help prepare for childbirth. This causes shifting of the joints and laxity in the muscles and ligaments that normally support your body and your spine, resulting in discomfort.
- Changes to Your Posture- Your body is growing and changing each day. Your belly is growing and stretching along with the fetus that is inside. This causes the muscles and bones in your body to readjust in new and different ways. Your spine curves backward to compensate for a shift in your center of gravity as your abdomen protrudes. This can cause pressure and tension in your spine.
- Weight gain- As your baby grows your weight increases and your back gets strained from supporting the extra weight.
- Improper Bending- Heavy lifting, twisting, bending, and prolonged sitting can make your back hurt. You can prevent back pain by being aware of how you stand, sit and move.
- Stress- Stress adds tension to the body and can contribute to pain anywhere. With the extra pressure that pregnancy places on your spine, the back is a very common place to experience stress tension. Try out some of our stress relieving tips.
Preventing Lower Back Pain or Lumbar Pain Before it Begins
- The following are things you can do to reduce the amount of lower back pain you are experiencing. Sometimes it is not possible to eliminate pain completely, but the following tips can help dramatically.
- Practice good posture- Stand with your hips and pelvis tucked in and your shoulders back and head up.
- When sleeping or resting, lie on your side with your knees and hips bent. Try placing a pillow between your knees and one under your belly. This can help take pressure off your low back. There are also some great pregnancy pillows that can help make you more comfortable.
- Wear good shoes. Heels and unsupportive shoes can contribute to spinal discomfort.
- When you sit, elevate your feet slightly. Try to take breaks from sitting at least every half hour. Don’t cross your legs.
- Practice safe lifting and bending. To lower your body, bend at the knees instead of the waist. Use your thigh muscles to push yourself back up without using your back.
- Try a pregnancy support belt.
- If you will be standing for extended periods of time, try to keep one of your feet elevated on a low stool.
- Exercise regularly to support and strengthen your back.
- Pregnancy massage(prenatal massage) is excellent for keeping your body loose and free of pain.
- Get your partner or friend to practice hands on pregnancy pain relief techniques on your body.
- Chiropractic visits can help prevent back pain.
- Acupuncture can help keep you balanced and prevent you from aching
- Prenatal Yoga can help keep your body loose and comfortable.
- Be sure you are getting adequate Calcium and Magnesium in your diet
- Drink plenty of fluids