Every year in America, nearly four million women will become pregnant and successfully bring a newborn baby into the world. While childbirth is a miraculous and life changing experience, two out of every three of these women will suffer from lower back or pelvic pain before reaching their 36th week of pregnancy. While this condition can be very uncomfortable, it is important to note that most pregnancy related back and pelvic pain symptoms will resolve on their own within three months following delivery.
Why Back Pain During Pregnancy
First, it is important to understand why back pain is so common during pregnancy. While the exact reason can be slightly different for each woman, the general cause for pregnancy related back pain is due to weight gain, a rapidly growing uterus, weakening of the abdominal muscles that once maintained proper posture, changes in lifestyle, and significant hormonal changes. In fact, when a woman is pregnant, her body will naturally produce a hormone called relaxin that enables ligaments in her pelvic region to relax and her joints to become looser. While the relaxin hormone is helpful in preparing a woman’s body to give birth, this same hormone can also cause ligaments that support the spine to loosen to the extent that some pregnant women will experience instability and even pain. Fortunately, there are many steps that a pregnant woman can take to decrease or even prevent back pain from occurring …
Getting Proper Support
If you’re a woman who enjoys wearing high-heels as a part of your everyday wardrobe, pregnancy is probably a time to rethink your shoe selection as high-heeled shoes can make a pregnant woman even more off balance and cause dangerous slips and falls. For safety and to prevent or reduce the likelihood of experiencing back pain, a pregnant woman needs to wear shoes with good arch support. Low-heeled, not flat shoes, are often the best and healthiest selection. Aside from shoes, as a pregnancy progresses, some women also find that the additional support of a maternity belt will make them more comfortable and decrease the stress on the lower back.
Becoming A Side-Sleeper
When you are pregnant, sleeping on your side with one or even both knees bent is safer and will put less stress on your spine. Many pregnant women also find that they are more comfortable when they use specially made pregnancy support pillows that are made to be placed under the growing abdomen, behind the back, and/or between the knees. Many of these pillows can be purchased at retail stores specializing in baby gear or maternity clothing. You may also find an even better variety of options when shopping online. For advice and guidance due to your specific challenges or condition, never hesitate to speak with your obstetrician or seek advice from our Spine Specialists at Stridewell Clinic.
Pregnancy should be a great time of joy & anticipation for every woman. If ongoing back pain is keeping you from feeling your best during your pregnancy, we invite you to schedule an evaluation with our Spine Specialists at Stridewell Clinic. Stridewell Tips
Maintaining Good Posture
During pregnancy, being conscious of your posture is of paramount importance. This is because the center of gravity in a pregnant woman’s body shifts forward as her baby grows. Due to this, many women will naturally compensate by leaning back, though doing so is not a good idea as overtime the muscles in the lower back will become strained and cause pregnancy-related back pain.
In order to avoid putting unnecessary strain on your spine during pregnancy, it is important to take a number of precautions to ensure that your posture isn’t causing pain. First, always sit comfortably in a chair that supports your back. If there is a gap between your lower back and your most comfortable chair, placing a small pillow behind your back can make you more comfortable. When standing, it is important to stand tall while keeping your shoulders back and your chest high. If you must be on your feet for long periods of time, be sure to take frequent breaks. Never lift heavy objects, and when lifting smaller objects from the floor it is important to be sure that you are bending your knees and lifting using your leg muscles. Never bend at the waist and lift by using your back muscles.
Who Is At Risk
If you are in the early phases of pregnancy or are thinking about becoming pregnant and wondering if you will have to deal with back pain, there is really no sure way to predict your likelihood. We do know that women who have had lower back pain before pregnancy or during a previous pregnancy are more likely to suffer the same in future pregnancies. Additionally, women who are carrying more than one baby, lead a sedentary lifestyle, lack flexibility, or those who have a weak back or abdominal muscles are also more likely to experience back pain while pregnant.
Pregnant women suffering from back pain may find relief from physical therapy and certain recommended exercises. When pregnant, it is always important to have your obstetrician’s approval before beginning any new therapy or exercise program. Aside from this, good nutrition, getting enough sleep, and generally taking good care of yourself can go a long way in preventing pain. Many women get relief from pregnancy-related back pain through engaging in relaxation techniques, mindfulness, pregnancy yoga, and prenatal massage.
When To Seek Help Immediately
It is important to seek medical help immediately if your back pain is caused by an accident or trauma, is accompanied by a fever, blood in your urine, vaginal bleeding, if you experience a burning sensation when urinating, or if you notice any loss of feeling or sensation in your legs, buttocks, or in the pelvic region. Further, be sure to call your obstetrician immediately if you are experiencing significant lower back pain late in the second trimester or anytime during the third trimester, as this could be a sign of pre-term labor.read article