Chances are, if you are reading this, you are experiencing the almost inevitable pregnancy back pain.
Rest assured you are not alone. Studies show that pregnancy back pain ranges from 25% to 90%, with most studies estimating that 50% of pregnant women will suffer from lower back pain.
However, good news is, pregnancy back pain should resolve in the following days/weeks postpartum.
But, in the meantime, you are in serious need of pregnancy back pain relief… and you need it NOW!
Trust me, I hear you. Loud and clear.
With both of my pregnancies I worked as a surgical nurse (open heart surgery and general surgery). Both of which required long, long hours of standing and walking… So, I feel your pain.
But, don’t worry my friend. After today, you will know exactly what do to relive and even prevent the all dreaded pregnancy back pain.
WHY DOES PREGNANCY BACK PAIN HAPPEN?
There are many possible reasons as to why it back pain happens during pregnancy.
As per WebMD here are some of the more likely causes:
- Weight gain
- Posture changes
- Hormone changes
- Muscle separation
Despite of this, there also many ways to relieve and even prevent pregnancy back pain.
So let’s take a look…
11 Ways to Relive Pregnancy Back Pain
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1. Use a pregnancy pillow
This is one of the best ways to relive and prevent pregnancy back pain.
Sleeping on your side with a pillow between the knees will take stress off your back.
In addition, the American Pregnancy Association states that “sleeping on your left side will increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and your baby.”
During both of my pregnancies, I couldn’t find comfort in a laying down position unless I had proper support in between my knees.
A pregnancy pillow is the perfect solution because it helps to get you into the perfect sleeping/resting position.
In addition, it replaces the need for multiple bed pillows by helping support your back, hips, knees, neck and head.
The Pregnancy Pillow by PharMeDoc is an Amazon’s Choice products and hold some of the best reviews.
2. Good posture
Pregnancy shifts your center of gravity.
In turn, without even noticing, you might start changing your posture to regain stability. This may result in back pain or strain.
By improving your posture, you avoid slouching which strains your spine.
When sitting at a desk, place a rolled-up towel behind your back for support and rest your feet on a stool. If you decide to keep your feet down, keep your hips and knees at 90-degree angle and prevent crossing your legs.
Try to sit up straight with your shoulders back.
Ensure you change positions often, as standing or sitting for long periods of time can cause muscle tension and cramping. Moving around improves circulation which helps take oxygenated blood to your tissues and muscles.
The longer you stand, the more stress your baby weight places on your back. Therefore, sitting down and resting often is also important, specially as you get closer to the third trimester.
3. Body Mechanics
Body mechanics refers to the way we move during daily activities.
Lifting objects properly and using the correct posture while doing so are crucial aspects of treating and preventing not only pregnancy back pain but throughout motherhood.
Between carrying your kids and picking up a million toys a day, body good mechanics can come in really handy.
All of that extra weight in the front of your body changes your center of gravity.
picking up an object
If you need to pick something up from the ground, use your legs to squat rather than bend over.
In other words, “to pick up an object that is lower than the level of your waist, keep your back straight and bend at your knees and hips. Do not bend forward at the waist with your knees straight” (source).
Carrying an object
When carrying and object, get close to the object; keep your back and neck in alignment; bend your hips, and lift with your legs, not your back.
Make sure you put an equal amount of weight on both sides of your body.
4. Pregnancy Support Belt
A maternity belt takes away the stress and added weight that often causes back pain and soreness.
It helps ease the discomfort of pregnancy by supporting your baby bump and providing gentle compression in the abdominal area.
The Maternity Belt by AZMED is an Amazon’s choice product and has excellent reviews.
This elastic maternity belt provides relief from hip and pelvic pains and other common stretching pains during pregnancy.
In addition, as per the manufacturer, this belly band helps supports the excess pregnancy weight preventing straining your back by lessening spinal pressure effectively.
5. Low comfortable shoes
Although many moms rock heels all through pregnancy, it is recommended that pregnant women stick low, comfortable shoes.
That is especially true to help ease and prevent pregnancy back pain.
On the same token, wearing flats can also prove to be a problem because of the lack of foot support.
Low shoes allow for the better balance and stability, thus the chance at better posture. A good pair of sneakers is a good example of low, comfortable supportive maternity shoes.
If you are looking for everlasting comfort and support through pregnancy and motherhood, you won’t go wrong with Vionic Women’s Kea Orthotic Trainers.
Yes! Slip-ons. Because take it from me, once the baby arrives, you won’t even have time to tie your shoelaces.
6. Pregnancy Yoga
Emotional stress can cause muscle tension in your back, which may feel like back pain or back spasms.
Prenatal yoga not only helps relieve the stress on your joints and help improve posture, but it can also improve emotional stress with deep breathing exercises.
In Prenatal Yoga, Shiva Rea walks you through simple yet important exercises that will keep you strong and healthy through pregnancy and get your ready for labor.
Related Article: How to Prevent and Treat Pregnancy Fatigue and Exhaustion
7. Try heat and cold therapy
Some woman finds relieve in hot and cold therapy.
A heating pad placed in warm setting can help ease pregnancy back pain by relaxing your back muscles.
In addition, cold therapy helps to lower inflammation. You can opt for a bag of ice or frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel.
NEVER, place a heat directly to your abdomen. Ensure that the heating pad is well away from your belly.
Always consult with your doctor before starting hot and cold therapy and ask for recommended time intervals between the hot and cold compresses.
8. Wear compression stockings
With both of my pregnancies support hoses/compression stockings were my saving grace.
When I was pregnant with my son, I once worked a 26-hour shift as an open-heart surgery nurse when I was 28 weeks pregnant.
I don’t think I could have gone that long without the use of my compression stockings.
Compression stockings work to apply gradual pressure to the veins, arteries, and muscles inside your legs.
This in turn forces the blood to circulate through narrower channels, combating swelling in the feet and ankles, helping prevent and diminish varicose veins, and improving circulation throughout the body.
Studies show that using graduated compression stocking during pregnancy decrease leg problems such as swelling, tiredness and pain.
You can grab a pair of maternity compression stockings here.
Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine in which thin needles are inserted into your skin at certain locations.
Studies show that acupuncture seems to alleviate low back and pelvic pain during pregnancy, as well as to increase the capacity for some physical activities.
Always remember to check with your health care provider if you’re interested in trying it.
Chiropractic care is the health maintenance of the spinal column and the adjustment of misaligned joints (source).
Think of it as a kind of physical therapy to reduce spinal nerve stress and promote health throughout the body.
As your baby grows during pregnancy, your center of gravity shifts, and your posture adjusts accordingly. These physical changes during your pregnancy can lead to a misaligned spine or joints and that’s where chiropractor care can come in handy.
Although all chiropractor are trained to work with pregnant woman, there are some who take a specific interest in prenatal and postnatal care and seek additional training.
Therefore, if going the chiropractor route, it is wise do a bit of research and opt for one who meets such qualifications.
With that said, there are several instances were chiropractor care is not recommended.
Ensure to speak to your health provider first before making your final decision.
11. Prenatal Massage
Getting a Prenatal massage can help in treating pregnancy back pain and tension.
Ensure you opt for a registered massage therapist who has additional training and certification in prenatal massage.
A qualified, experienced massage therapist will know how to position your pregnant body (for example, side lying reduces the added pressure you would have lying on your back) and which techniques are safe to use.
Please consult with your doctor before booking a pregnancy massage.
Talk to your doctor
If your back pain persists or before trying any if the above suggested back pain relief methods (acupuncture, chiropractor, and prenatal massage), you may want to consult your doctor.
He might also suggest pain medications such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol) which is considered safe for most women to take during pregnancy.
Related Article: What to Expect After Giving Birth and Practical Tips to Heal Faster
Pregnancy back pain can prove to be quite challenging.
It can hold you back from performing daily activities and it can even take an emotional toll.
Ensure are taking care of yourself and taking the necessary steps to treat and prevent pregnancy back pain by implementing a few of the methods discussed here.
What have you tried to help relieve pregnancy back pain?
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