The additional weight of your pregnant belly sometimes causes back pain, especially later in the pregnancy. Anywhere from 50 to 70 percent of expecting mothers experience back pain at some point in their pregnancies, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Support your back while you’re pregnant to avoid or alleviate back pain.
Changes to your body during pregnancy affect your back in several ways. As your abdomen expands, the center of gravity changes, which often will affect your posture. Pregnancy hormones loosen joints and ligaments, which results in less support for your back. The extra weight you carry also adds to strain on the back.
Your choice of clothing and accessories during pregnancy affects your back to some degree. The March of Dimes recommends maternity pants with supportive elastic bands that go under the belly to help support the weight. Skip the high heels during pregnancy; they throw off your back muscles for an increased risk of backaches. Choose a low, supportive shoe for the least amount of strain. A pregnancy support girdle or similar support brace is an option if you notice back pain or weakness.
The way you stand, walk and sit affects your back muscles and the amount of strain they carry. Keep your spine in a straight line. Avoid sticking your abdomen out even further than it already is. When picking up objects, squat down rather than bending over, which strains your back.
Back support doesn’t stop when you go to bed. Supporting your back as you sleep may help you rest more comfortably and prevent back pain in the morning. Start with a firm, supportive mattress. The March of Dimes recommends placing a board between your box spring and mattress to add support if your mattress is too soft. Pillows placed strategically around your body help with spine alignment and back support. Try a body pillow placed under your belly and between your knees. This supports the abdomen for less strain and keeps the knees apart slightly for better back alignment. A pillow behind your back as you sleep on your side is another option for back support while you’re sleeping.
A regular exercise routine helps strengthen the back and abdominal muscles for greater back support. Stronger abdominal muscles help with delivery and can improve posture during pregnancy. The pelvic tilt is an effective move for strengthening your abs: begin on your hands and knees, then round your back and tighten your abdominal muscles. Hold this position for a few seconds and release.