As your bump begins to grow, this may have painful implications for your lower back. Back pain during pregnancy is extremely common, particularly in the early stages of pregnancy, with something in the region of over two thirds of pregnant women experiencing lower back pain.
Find out more about the causes of back pain during pregnancy and follow our top tips for combatting back pain.
Causes of back pain during pregnancy
In order to prepare your body for labour, your body begins to release hormones that cause the ligaments around the pelvis to become softer and to stretch. In turn, this can put pressure on your joints towards your lower back and pelvis.
Back pain can also be the outcome of many other factors related to pregnancy including:
- Weight gain
- The shifting of your centre of gravity resulting in posture changes
- Emotional stress
Pain relief tips
Here are some great back pain remedies that you should implement to make yourself as comfortable as possible throughout your pregnancy journey.
Exercising regularly during pregnancy is important as it prevents your back muscles from becoming too tight and improves your range of motion. However, exercise should be gentle and light to ensure you’re not putting any pressure on your body or baby.
Swimming is a particularly recommended form of exercise for pregnant women as it takes the pressure off your spine. Whilst in the water, you become weightless so you place no added strain on your body. It’s a great way to keep fit and healthy during your pregnancy, with the added bonus of being an effective way to help with back pain.
Prenatal yoga is a brilliant and popular tool for back pain relief. Yoga can help you to strengthen your muscles so that they’re more able to support the added weight that comes with pregnancy. It can also improve your posture, balance and flexibility.
Yoga has the added benefit of helping you to deal with stress and anxiety, enabling you to relax your mind and your muscles. You may also wish to practice other mindfulness techniques, such as mediation, to reduce stress levels and relax your back muscles.
A gentle and soothing prenatal massage is a great relief for acute back pain. By loosening the muscles in your back and surrounding areas, this will release any build-up of tension and provide you with some relief. You could also use a foam roller at home to loosen up the relevant muscles.
However, ensure that you consult your doctor prior to booking a massage to check that this is a safe option for you and your baby.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine, sterile needles into certain pressure points in the body for differing therapeutic effects.
Research points to the benefits of acupuncture for natural pain relief. Acupuncture contributes to the release of endorphins into the bloodstream and when acupuncture points are stimulated in the areas you’re feeling pain, endorphins can inhibit the transmission of pain locally.
Although acupuncture is generally safe during pregnancy, check with your GP or a midwife before you book an appointment and make sure you tell your qualified acupuncturist that you are pregnant before receiving any treatment.
In order to ease back pain, make sure you’re sleeping on your side and not on your back. You may want to consider using a pregnancy pillow as support between your knees, under your abdomen and behind your back.
It is also important that you are getting enough sleep and engaging in a regular sleep pattern.
Perfect your posture
Improving your posture during pregnancy is a simple way to soothe back pain.
When standing up:
- Ensure your weight is in your heels
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart
- Keep your head up and your shoulders back
- Distribute your body weight evenly
- Don’t tilt your pelvis forwards or backwards
- Avoid wearing high heels
- Ensure your back is straight and you’re using the chair to support your back
- Keep your feet flat on the floor
- Sit with your buttocks at the back of the chair
- Make use of a back support such as lumbar roll at the curve of your back for added support
Standing and sitting in these ways will help reduce strain and irritation to your back.
Remember that lying or sitting down for long periods of time when you’re pregnant aren’t recommended if you have a sore back.
Heat is an efficient way to reduce back pain as it increases the blood flow. A warm compress or heat pad can be used to relax tight muscles in your back and reduce any inflammation in surrounding areas, but avoid using for longer than 20 minutes. You may also find that a warm bath helps reduce back pain.
If you are experiencing back pain during your pregnancy and would like to seek advice, get in touch with our expert team at Harpenden Physiotherapy. We specialise in Women’s Health and in treating back pain through a range of treatments. In more severe cases of back pain, be sure to contact your GP or midwife.