While pregnancy is a magical time filled with happiness for the parents, it certainly takes a toll on the mother. Apart from the sudden mood swings and weird food cravings, back pain is another con that the mothers experience during pregnancy.
In this article, we’ll cover the causes, prevention and tips & tricks on treating back pain during pregnancy if you’re currently suffering from it.
So let’s get into it!
If you’re experiencing back pain during pregnancy – congratulations, your baby is growing! However, it can be tough on your back and many factors, depending upon the influence of each trimester.
First Trimester – Early Pregnancy
During the early days, there are two leading causes of back pain during pregnancy: hormones and stress. So let’s take a look at how do they contribute to back pain:
As soon as you’re pregnant, your body starts to release progesterone to assist many physiological changes that occurred by pregnancy. One of its functions is to relax the ligaments and muscles near the pelvis, which can directly affect the alignment and stability of the joints.
Another hormone, known as “relaxin”, softens the cervix and aids in the expansion of the vaginal canal. All these accommodations aid in the smooth and quick delivery of the baby.
Relaxin brings about these changes by further relaxing the ligaments and joints of the pelvic area that will automatically affect the stability of your spine and joints. Thus, all these hormonal changes contribute to the back pain caused during pregnancy.
Being pregnant is not a piece of cake.
While there’s the joy of experiencing a life-changing phase, pregnancy can be pretty stressful too. With nausea, unwanted fatigue, swollen feet and episodes of mood swings – stress is due to follow. Not only does it affect your health, but it also plays a significant role in causing back pain during pregnancy.
Second & Third Trimester
Once you enter the second and third trimester, and that baby bump starts to increase – your back is prone to more injuries and pain.
Here are the causes of back pain during second and third trimesters:
1. Improper Posture
If you’re not conscious about your posture or do not have a good posture, you will have increased chances of having back pain during pregnancy.
Moreover, during pregnancy, as the size and weight of the baby increase, your centre of gravity shifts towards the front. Due to this, you lean backwards to correct the imbalance, which may lead to back pain.
2. Increase in Weight
As the fetus grows in your womb, it’s pretty clear that there will be an increase in your weight. And this weight gain is directly proportional to the back pain caused during pregnancy. Not only this, but it can also affect your joints and cause pain in them as well. Therefore, it would be ideal for keeping a record of your weight throughout your pregnancy so that you know when you’re falling in the “danger” zone.
According to CDC, this should be the gain in your weight, if you are:
- 28–40 lb (underweight)
- 25–35 lb (healthy weight)
- 15–25 lb (overweight)
- 11–20 lb (obese)
3. Muscle Separation
The fetus literally goes like, “make more room for me, no matter if I tear your muscles apart!”
That’s right, as your fetus increases in size, it can stretch, push and can even separate the parallel abdominal muscles that come to meet in the middle of your abdomen. These muscles are responsible for holding your spine in place and hence play a significant role in stability. If these muscles are disturbed due to the growing fetus, you can expect yourself to be more prone to spine injuries and back pain.
If case you might be wondering, following are the symptoms that characterise back pain during pregnancy:
- Pain that radiates to the back of the thigh or leg.
- A dull, sharp or burning pain in your lower back.
- One-sided pain – i.e. either right or left.
Well, lucky for you, back pain during pregnancy can be treated. Let’s peek into some ways that can help you combat this problem:
- Sleep at your left and avoid lying straight.
- Put a pillow between your legs and under your abdomen for extra support.
- Get the essential maternal gadgets like a maternal belt or brace.
- Try prenatal yoga to relieve stress and connect with your body.
- Use a hot or cold compress to counter the inflammation and settle the back pain.
- Start with some pregnancy exercises to strengthen your body.
- Take care of your posture and avoid slouching.
- Take pain medications that have been approved by the doctor.
- Go for massages or alternative techniques like acupuncture or chiropractic services.
- Avoid wearing complete flats or high heels.
If you follow these guidelines correctly, you’ll be able to reduce the severity of your back pain and even prevent it from troubling you again.
When to Seek Immediate Help?
While back pain during pregnancy is not an emergency and can be treated at home, there are some times when you should seek immediate help.
Here are the following conditions where we encourage you to seek immediate help from a healthcare professional:
- A sudden appearance of intense back pain.
- A backache that hasn’t been resolved for two weeks.
- Severe back pain while coughing or sneezing.
- Back pain coupled with fever or vaginal bleeding.
- Pain that is accompanied by urinary incontinence and muscle weakness, especially the pelvic and leg area.
You must be on the lookout for such symptoms, and if they seem to appear, contact your obstetrician-gynaecologist as soon as possible.
What Are the Preventive Measures?
If you’re smart enough, you wouldn’t want to become a victim of back pain. And there are ways where you can avoid back pain altogether.
Here are the preventive measures that you must take if you want to avoid back pain during pregnancy:
- Work on your posture; you must practice sitting straight and squaring your shoulders whenever you remember.
- Don’t sleep on your abdomen; always sleep on your left side.
- Get the maternal gear as soon as you can.
- Avoid wearing high heels or low flats during your pregnancy.
- Consult your ob-gyn and jot down a few exercises for yourself
- Always stretch your back – make it a habit!
- Keep track of your weight and avoid getting overweight during pregnancy.
Back pain can indeed be a hassle whether you’re pregnant or not. However, if you want to avoid this issue during pregnancy, it’s necessary to bring about some lifestyle changes. We assure you that you can completely eliminate this problem by making some adjustments – once and for all!