Back pain during pregnancy is a common complaint – and no wonder. You gain weight, your center of gravity changes and your hormones relax the ligaments in the joints of your pelvis. Often, however, you can prevent or relieve back pain during pregnancy. Consider seven ways to give the boot back pain.
. 1 Practice a good attitude.
As your baby grows, your center of gravity shifts forwards. To avoid falling forward, you can compensate for this by leaning back. This can strain the muscles in the lower back and contribute to back pain during pregnancy. Follow these principles of good posture:
- Stand upright and high
- Keep your chest high.
- Keep your shoulders back and relaxed.
- Do not connect your knees.
When When you are standing, use a comfortably wide position for the best support. If you need to stand for a long time rest one foot on a low running board – and take time for frequent breaks.
Good attitude also means being careful. Choose a chair that supports your back, or place a small cushion behind your lower back.
. 2 Get the right equipment.
Wear low-heeled shoes and do not wear flat shoes and good foot support. Avoid high heels that can shift the balance further forward.
You might also consider wearing a maternity belt. Although research into the effectiveness of maternity belts is limited, some women find the additional support helpful.
. 3 Lift properly.
When lifting a small object, squat down and lift it with your legs. Do not bend at the waist and do not lift your back. It is also important to know your limits. Ask for help when you need it.
. 4 Sleep on your side.
Sleep on your side, not on your back. Keep one or both knees bent. Consider using pregnancy or support pillows between your bent knees, under your stomach, and behind your back.
. 5 Try warmth, cold or massage.
Although evidence to support their effectiveness is limited, a massage or applying a heating pad or ice pack to the back can be helpful.
. 6 Add physical activity to your everyday life.
Regular physical activity can keep your back strong and relieve back pain during pregnancy. Try using the health care provider's OK to perform gentle activities such as walking or water sports. A physiotherapist can also show you stretches and exercises that could help.
You can also stretch your lower back. Lean on hands and knees with your head in line with your back. Pull in your stomach and round your back slightly. Hold for a few seconds and then relax your stomach and back – keeping your back as flat as possible. Edit up to 10 repetitions step by step. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for further stretching exercises.
. 7 Consider complementary therapies.
Some research suggests that acupuncture can relieve back pain during pregnancy. Chiropractic treatment can also be comforting for some women. Further research is required. If you are considering complementary therapy, discuss it with your doctor. Make sure you tell the chiropractor or acupuncturist that you are pregnant.
Find out when you should consult your doctor.
If you have severe back pain during pregnancy or have back pain for more than two weeks, talk to your health care provider. He or she may recommend medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or other treatments.
Remember that back pain during pregnancy can be a sign of premature birth or urinary tract infection. If you have back pain during pregnancy accompanied by vaginal bleeding, fever or burning sensation when urinating, contact your doctor immediately.
Date of publication: 2000-10-25