Most pregnant women experience back pain to some degree; this is especially noticeable beginning in the second trimester. Several things are responsible for pregnancy-related back pain. As the body expands to accommodate the growing baby, the joints between the bones in the mother’s pelvis soften and loosen. As the uterus grows heavier, the woman’s center of gravity changes, putting stress on the lower back, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. A pregnant mother can try several things to support her back and ease–or prevent–pain.
Good posture helps prevent and ease back pain during pregnancy. Stand with your pelvis tucked in and your buttocks tucked under. Hold your shoulders up and back. If your job requires you to stand for long periods, the University of Cincinnati recommends resting one foot on a low stool and taking frequent rests.
Select a chair that supports your back. Place a small pillow or cushion behind your lower back. Elevate your feet slightly. Don’t slouch or cross your legs.
The advice to “lift with your legs, not your back” is especially true during pregnancy. Don’t bend when trying to lift small objects. Squat, while keeping your posture upright as much as possible, and lift with your legs, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Whenever you are lying down to watch television, lie on your side, with one or both knees bent. Place one pillow between your knees, one behind your back and another under your abdomen or use a dual-support pregnancy pillow that supports your back and your abdomen.
Strengthen your back with the pelvic tilt, according to the Mayo Clinic. Get down on your hands and knees, with your head lifted parallel to your back. Pull your abdomen in and arch your spine. Hold for several seconds and relax. Repeat this exercise five times and slowly increase up to 10 repetitions.
Do not wear high heels. Choose low-heeled shoes with a good arch support or get arch braces or supports for your shoes.
Maternity panties designed with support for the lower abdomen or maternity belts can reduce the strain on the lower back. Maternity support camisoles–also known as belly bras–are designed to shift the support of the pelvis onto the shoulders.
Other things that can help your back include applying hot or cold compresses, using heating pads or taking hot baths. Back rubs can ease the pain, as can massages and chiropractic adjustments; be sure to let the masseuse or chiropractor know you are pregnant. Acetaminophen is safe to take during pregnancy, but check with your doctor first before taking any medication.
Contact your doctor immediately if your back pain does not ease with treatments or if you are bleeding or spotting. These could be a symptom of a serious condition or preterm labor.
- pregnancy #11 image by Adam Borkowski from Fotolia.com