Find The Proper Shoes
You may be a fashion maven who receives regular compliments on your pregnancy style, but if you’re wearing high-fashion shoes, you’re not doing your back any favors. “High heels increase the curvature of your back and create pressure” that drives the weight of your growing uterus directly into your lower spine and hip joints, says Dr. Rosser. You may also lose your balance , and heels may cause you to be less stable.
But walking in flats isn’t the answer either, as they can leave your feet, which tend to spread during pregnancy because of hormonal changes, unsupported. Poor foot position can manifest itself as imbalance and pain all the way up your legs and back.
To get the best supportâand to relieve the most pressureâDr. Rosser advises a low-heeled shoe that is comfortable with either built-in arch support or an orthotic insert. The slight rise of the low heel will help distribute the weight that’s on your legs in a more stable and back-supportive way.
Who Is Most Likely To Have Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy
You’re at higher risk for lower back pain if:
- You’ve had this kind of pain before, either before you got pregnant or during a previous pregnancy
- You have a sedentary lifestyle
- You are not very flexible
- You have weak back and weak abdominal muscles
- You are carrying twins
- You have a high BMI
- You’ve had spinal fusion in the past for adolescent scoliosis
Additional 10 Tips To Get Relief From Pregnancy Back Pain:
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How To Relieve Back Pain During Pregnancy While Sleeping
Physical changes during pregnancy have an enormous impact on how well and how long you sleep. But good sleep during pregnancy is so important for a healthy parent and a healthy baby. If pregnancy back pain is keeping you up at night, try this technique:
Sleep on your side and bend one or both knees. Place a pregnancy or support pillow between your knees and ankles. This lifts your knees up to be level with your hips, reducing the strain on your lower back. Place a vertical pillow under your belly and upper body to support your chest and arm.
A full-body pillow also works very well to create an ideal sleeping posture that supports your body in all the right places to ease the strain on your back.
Causes Of Back Pain During Pregnancy
As many as 80 percent of moms-to-be experience back pain at some point during their pregnancy, and the causes can vary. The main culprit is often strain on the muscles of your back caused by pregnancy weight gain and by changes in your posture due to your growing belly. As your pregnancy progresses, there is more weight on the front of your body, making you bend slightly forward. To keep you balanced, your posture changes, and you might overcorrect and lean back a little too far. The extra strain can make your back feel stiff and sore.
Weak abdominal muscles can also cause back pain. As your baby grows, your tummy muscles can stretch and weaken. These muscles play an important role in supporting your spine, so as they weaken, your back can start to hurt.
Some pregnancy hormones can also play a role. Hormones that are meant to relax the ligaments and joints of your pelvis to help your baby pass through the birth canal more easily can also loosen the joints of your back, which can cause them to overextend, leading to soreness.
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Ergonomically Supported Sleep Positions Reduce Mechanical Strain In The Lower Back
A side-sleeping posture with the use of appropriate supportive pillows is recommended in pregnancy.
- Using a pillow between the knees and ankles while sleeping brings the top of the knee at the same level as the hip, reducing strain on the lower back.1
- Placing a vertical pillow near the abdomen and upper body can help support the top arm and chest area.1
The head and neck may be supported by a small rolled-up towel placed under the neck inside the pillowcase.
Safety Tips For Exercising While Pregnant:
- After your first trimester, avoid exercising while lying flat on your back.
- This position causes the uterus to put pressure on a major vein called the inferior vena cava, which pumps blood back to your heart. Impeding this blood flow can make you dizzy, short of breath or nauseated.
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How To Reduce Back Pain
You can prevent back pain or reduce it by:
- wearing comfortable, supportive, low-heeled shoes
- not standing for long periods of time
- sitting with your bottom against the back of a chair and sitting up tall – put a small cushion at your lower back if needed
- tucking your hands under your bump for support if standing for long periods
- not lifting heavy objects – if you need to lift anything, bend your knees and keep a straight back
- staying active with gentle exercises and stretching
- being aware of your posture
What Are Some Symptoms Of Back Pain During Pregnancy
The symptoms of back pain during pregnancy are very similar to the symptoms of back pain prior to pregnancy. Some of the symptoms include:
- Pain in the center of your back
- Pain above or at the sides of the waistline
- Pain over the pubic bone
- Pain in the buttocks or thighs
- Pain that can radiate to the legs
- Stiffness or discomfort after sitting or standing for long period of time
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How To Treat Or Ease Back Pain During Pregnancy
Maintain a good posture
As the centre of gravity shifts forward due to the increasing growth of the baby, women have to lean back to avoid falling forward, which can strain their back muscles. To improve your posture, you should try to stand straight and tall. While sitting, you can place a rolled cloth or towel behind your back for support. Keep your shoulders and back relaxed. If you are standing, try to pull your hips forward.
Massage your back
In case of a backache, you can apply a heating pad or ice pack and massage. After consulting your doctor, you can put cold compression on your back for a few minutes. After 2-3 days, you can switch to a heating pad and apply it to the area.
Your sleeping position during pregnancy makes a lot of difference. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Do physical activities
Do some gentle physical activities, but only after consulting your doctor. Try to do some pregnancy-safe stretching exercises which can give you relief from back pain. Stretch your lower back as well.
Always remember to sleep on your side and not on your back. You should keep your knees bent and put pillows between your knees for support.
Lift things in a proper way
Avoid lifting any heavy objects. If you want to lift something, do not bend at the waist. Instead, squat down and lift the object with your legs, and not with the back.
When To Worry About Pregnancy Back Pain
Low back pain that’s worse when you’re standing but eases once you sit or lie down is considered normal during pregnancy. But talk to your doctor if the pain starts to radiate down your legs into your calves or feet interferes with daily activities or is associated with other symptoms such as fever, chills, weight loss, weakness, or sensory issues.
Types Of Back Pain And When They Might Occur During Pregnancy
There are many types of pain, and different people experience pain in different ways and at different times. For example, you might notice sharp jabs when you make certain movements, like getting out of a car or walking up a flight of stairs. Or, you might have muscle cramps or spasms when you sit or sleep in certain positions. Pain can come on suddenly or slowly, and you might feel anything from a sharp pain to a constant dull pressure or a throbbing ache that comes and goes. You might even experience a combination of these sensations. Sometimes it can be tricky to pinpoint the exact site of the pain. For example, you might have trouble distinguishing back pain from soreness in your pelvis or hip.
Why Do I Have Back Pain
During pregnancy your ligaments loosen up and stretch to get your body ready for labour. This puts strain on your joints, which can cause back pain.
Pregnancy also affects your posture . When youre pregnant, the natural curve in your spine increases because its trying to cope with the extra weight of your baby bump. This can cause pain.
Many women say the pain is worse in the evening and after 28 weeks of pregnancy .
Some women with lower back pain also have pelvic girdle pain , which is a common condition in pregnancy. It describes the pain caused by the pelvic joints getting stiff or less stable during pregnancy.
Back problems can affect your sleep and make it harder to go about your everyday life. But there are a few things you can do to help ease the pain, sleep better and stay strong throughout your pregnancy.
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Back Pain In The Second And Third Trimesters
You might experience back pain during the second or third trimester. In addition to the potential causes listed above, back pain can result from a condition called sciatica. As the uterus expands, it can put pressure on the sciatic nerve. This causes pain that runs from your lower back down one leg to the knee or foot. Seeking medical help, taking warm showers, getting physical therapy, and taking pain-relief medication may help reduce the pain. The good news about sciatica is that it will likely resolve itself once your baby is born.
Toward the end of your pregnancy, a dull ache in your back and lower abdomen, together with pressure in your pelvis, may be a sign you are going into labor.
Upper Back Pain In Pregnancy
There are several potential causes of upper back pain in pregnancy, but Greves says that lifting things with improper technique can definitely make things worse. Your body is changing all the time, and if you just use your upper back to lift things, you risk straining your upper back muscles, she says. You need to use your butt when you lift instead of just your arms.
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Pregnancy Back Pain Relief And Prevention Ideas
Your doctor or midwife can give you personalised advice and may recommend pain relief or physical therapy, but these strategies might also help relieve the discomfort:
Exercise. Regular physical activity helps to strengthen your back and abdominal muscles. It can also help improve your posture. Just make sure to get the green light from your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen. Prenatal yoga could be a good choice as could be exercising in water.
Practice good posture when you stand and sit. Keep a straight posture and draw your belly in. Try to remember to tighten your tummy muscles even while sitting, standing and walking. If you sit a lot, it can help relieve the pain to choose a chair with good back support or use a cushion to support your lower back.
Wear comfortable shoes. Wear low-heeled shoes to evenly distribute your weight.
Sleep comfortably. A firm mattress gives your back extra support, and sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs, behind your back, and under your tummy can also help.
Be careful when you pick up objects. Avoid lifting anything heavy. To pick something off the ground bend your knees instead of bending over at the waist.
Get plenty of rest. Take regular breathers to just have a sit down and relax, especially as your pregnancy progresses.
Get a massage. You mind find a massage soothing and relaxing. A warm bath could also help relieve your achy back.
Pregnancy Back Pain Relief: 6 Safe And Easy Ways To Feel Better
Many people find back pain during pregnancy resolves itself once the baby is born. But that is no consolation if you are currently pregnant and back pain is making your life miserable. Acute or chronic pregnancy back pain can interfere with exercise, work, sleep, and simple daily tasks.
Here are some practical ways to prevent and relieve back pain for a more comfortable and enjoyable pregnancy.
1. Maintain Good Posture
As your center of gravity moves to the front of your body, it is normal to try to compensate for that change by leaning back, which can put undue strain on low back muscles and can make it difficult for your core muscles to work properly. Try to be mindful of your posture and resist arching your back excessively.
Good posture principles:
Stand up tall and straight. Hold your chest high. Keep your shoulders back and down. Avoid locking your knees. Have a comfortable, wide stance. Use a small pillow to support your back when sitting.
2. Stay Physically Active
Sitting or standing too long in the same position can irritate the muscles and joints in your back. Its important to get moving. Regular exercise helps your back stay strong, mobile, and healthy during and after pregnancy.
3. Avoid Heavy Lifting
4. Wear a Support Belt
5. Apply Heat or Ice
6. Try Physical Therapy
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Treatments For Back Pain In Pregnancy
More good news: Unless you had chronic backaches before you got pregnant, your pain will likely ease gradually before you give birth.
Meanwhile, there are many things you can do to treat low back pain or make it rarer and milder:
- If you need to pick something up from the ground, use your legs to squat rather than bend over.
- Don’t wear high-heeled shoes. Choose low-heeled shoes with good arch support. Remember, as hormones loosen joints, you may need to buy a larger shoe size.
- Don’t sleep on your back.
- Wear support hose.
If your back pain persists, you may want to consult your doctor to see what else you might try. Be sure to consult your doctor before taking pain medications. Acetaminophen is safe for most women to take during pregnancy. Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen are not advised. In some cases, your doctor may recommend other pain medicines or muscle relaxants that are safe during pregnancy.
Pregnancy Pillow To Alleviate Pregnancy Pains
I have to say that my pregnancy pillow was my best friend in both pregnancies. I used different pillows in different pregnancies because I started to need different kind of support. But Im not sure I could possibly be comfortable without my supportive friends. It makes such a difference in your sleep quality. You actually stand a chance of waking up in the morning somewhat refreshed and relatively pain free.
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What Is Sciatica In Pregnancy
When lower back pain radiates into the buttocks and thighs, it’s often confused with sciatica, a relatively uncommon condition. True sciatica during pregnancy, which can happen when a herniated or bulging disk in the lower part of the spine presses on the nerve roots in the spine, affects only about 1 percent of pregnant women.
If you have sciatica, your leg pain will usually be more severe than your back pain. You’re likely to feel it below the knee as well, and it may even radiate to your foot and toes. And you’ll probably feel a tingling, pins-and-needles sensation in your legs or possibly some numbness.
With severe sciatic nerve pain, you may have numbness in your groin or genital area as well. You may even find that it’s hard to urinate or have a bowel movement.
Back Pain During Pregnancy
Back pain or discomfort is common during pregnancy and should be expected to some degree by most women. Back pain may be experienced during any point of your pregnancy however, it most commonly occurs later in pregnancy as baby grows.Back pain can disrupt your daily routine or interfere with a good night of sleep. The good news is there are steps you can take to manage the back pain that you experience.
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Natural Ways To Relieve Back Pain During Pregnancy
When your baby bump is causing back pain, there are plenty of things you can do to feel better without taking over-the-counter pain killers.
During pregnancy, that bowling ball, a.k.a. baby, inside your uterus changes your whole centre of gravity, which results in your pelvis arahifting forward. This can lead to a common form of back pain known as pelvic girdle pain , which spans from the middle lower back area all the way around to your hips and pubic bone, says Sarah Mickeler, chiropractor and founder of West End Mamas, a clinic in Toronto that specializes in pre- and postnatal care.
At the same time, in order to compensate for this forward shift in their pelvis, many women naturally lean backward, which increases the curve of their lower back, potentially leading to low-back pain. Ouch!
All of this can add up to a lot of aches and pains, but the good news is there are a number of ways to prevent and treat it. Pregnancy does not have to hurt, says Mickeler. Here are some ways to find relief from pregnancy-related back pain.