Motherhood is a mixed blessing of happiness and discomfort for most women. Pregnancy causes havoc on your body, especially when your lower back starts acting up. In fact, pregnancy back pain is the number one complaint from women. According to the National Institutes of Health, 50 percent of all pregnant women suffer from back pain at some point during the nine months.
Pregnancy back pain can lead to serious pregnancy scares like pre-term labor. Keep your doctor informed if you’re experiencing any back pain. The specialists at the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) recommend treatments that help relieve the pain while keeping your baby safe.
Leading Causes of Back Pain
While you’re pregnant, your back is under a lot of stress. The most common sources of back pain include:
- Weight gain. You can expect to add nearly a quarter of your body weight during pregnancy. The added weight puts a strain on your spine as you try to accommodate the extra weight in the front. Your center of gravity shifts, causing you to feel unsure on your feet.
- Hormones. Your body is preparing to accommodate the baby. Ligaments in your pelvic area soften and your joints loosen. While this is necessary for the birth of your baby, it’s bad news for your back.
- Muscular imbalances. If you aren’t fit before you got pregnant, your body’s in for a shock. Pregnancy has a major impact on your back and leg muscles. With the added weight, your muscles tire more easily, leading to bad posture and pregnancy back pain.
Activities to Avoid
Many women stay active right up to their labor date. But there are a few activities you should avoid so you don’t aggravate your pregnancy back pain. Remember that your body moves differently now that you’re pregnant.
Ask your doctor at SSI for suggestions about when to be careful and what to avoid while pregnant. In general, take care when doing these activities:
- Climbing stairs (don’t run up the stairs)
- Rising suddenly after sitting for a while
- Getting out of a car, bathtub or bed
- Sitting or standing for long periods of time
- Doing exercises without warming up
- Lifting heavy boxes the wrong way
- Sleeping on your back
- Slipping into an improper posture
- Dealing with stress
- Where You Feel Your Back Pain
Your risk of experiencing pregnancy back pain increases if you’re already overweight or suffering from pre-existing back pain. When back pain starts during pregnancy differs from woman to woman. Some complain during the early months, while most complain after the third trimester. Consult a back specialist from SSI during these crucial months.
Pregnancy back pain can strike many areas of your body:
- Lumbar region pain occurs in the area behind your waist.
- Leg or foot pain may originate in your back.
- Pelvic pain, which occurs four times more frequently in pregnant women, appears below and to the side of your waistline.
- Pain in your butt is also common.
- Pubic area pain and pain in the back of your thighs are rarer.
Treating the Pain
There are many ways in which you can ease your pain. Your SSI doctor can recommend different therapies and exercise regimes that help strengthen your back and leg muscles. Things you can do on your own include:
- Sleep on your side with your knees pulled in
- Put pillows under your knees while sleeping to relieve the pressure on your spine
- Squat when you lift anything
- Don’t lift heavy boxes
- Don’t stand or sit for long periods
- Don’t bend from the waist
- Be wary of your posture while you stand or sit
- Wear flat shoes
- Put your feet up while resting
- Do meditation to relieve stress