Back Pain During Pregnancy
An aching back can be a common symptom of any stage of pregnancy and there are a number of different factors which can cause it. Up to 70% of pregnant women experience lower, mid, or upper back pain during pregnancy and it’s usually nothing to worry about. Read on to find out more about the causes of back pain during pregnancy, safe ways of preventing and treating it, and signs that your back pain could be a symptom of more serious complications.
Causes of Pregnancy Back Pain:
Hormonal Changes: Lower back pain in early pregnancy is a very common symptom and it is usually caused by increased hormones working hard to grow your baby.
Carrying Extra Weight: As your baby grows, you will too – you’ll be carrying an extra six or seven pounds by the end of your third trimester. It’s really no surprise that the additional load can cause middle back pain during pregnancy.
An Altered Center of Gravity: As your baby grows, your center of gravity is gradually pulled forward. The change in posture can cause backache, spasms, or back cramping during pregnancy.
Pressure on the Spine and Pelvis: Your baby’s position in the womb may be putting pressure on your vertebrae or pelvis and causing pregnancy lower back pain.
Fatigue and Insomnia: These common pregnancy symptoms could also be contributing to your back ache. Your body needs all the energy it can get to grow your baby.
Poor Posture: Slouching, bending incorrectly, or spending long hours on your feet can all cause back pain which is aggravated during pregnancy. Take extra care of yourself, stand up straight and rest often – growing a baby is hard work!
Stress and Anxiety: Again, this common pregnancy symptom can make back pain worse. Stay relaxed and upbeat – an improved mindset can go a long way toward relieving uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms.
Natural Pregnancy Back Pain Relief and Prevention:
You may not be able to completely avoid back pain during pregnancy. But there are some definite steps you can take to make it less severe and to make yourself more comfortable if back pain does strike. Here are a few things you can try:
- Regular exercise and stretching can help strengthen your body and prevent pain. Find out more about safe pregnancy exercises here.
- Make sure there’s plenty of calcium, protein, and iron in your diet to strengthen bones and muscles. Find out more about a healthy pregnancy diet here.
- Applying heat or ice can help to relieve pregnancy back pain.
- Ask your doctor, physio, or chiropractor to teach you some simple pregnancy back stretches to help relieve and prevent the pain.
- Get plenty of rest and try and elevate your feet and legs as often as possible. Avoid stressful situations.
- Wear comfortable shoes – high heels put unnecessary strain on your spine and do not offer adequate support.
- There are also a number of products you can use for pregnancy back support, including abdominal braces and wedge pillows. Find out more about pregnancy support products here.
When to Call Your Doctor because of Pregnancy Back Pain:
Usually, back pain during pregnancy is no cause for alarm. But there are times when back pain can be a sign of more serious complications. These include:
- Pregnancy-associated Osteoporosis
- Vertebral Osteoarthritis
- Septic Arthritis
- Early labor
You should contact your doctor immediately if:
- Your back pain is severe and persistent (e.g walking is difficult or your spine seems bent out of shape).
- The pain becomes increasingly severe or the onset of pain is very sudden.
- The pain is a rhythmic cramping.
Learn More about Pregnancy Symptoms and how to Treat them:
Find out more about relieving pregnancy cramps and pains in the back, neck, and abdomen here.
A comprehensive guide to pregnancy symptoms in the first, second, and third trimesters of pregnancy.
Regular use of the stretching techniques used in yoga can be a really effective way of preventing or relieving pregnancy back pain. Find out more about safe pregnancy yoga here.