Back pain or discomfort during Pregnancy is a common phenomenon wherein the extent of discomfort varies from mild to extreme. The second half of pregnancy could be more taxing as back pain usually increases during that period. This is due to the simple fact that the baby growth is more rapid, thus applying more pressure on your spine which holds the weight of the growing baby and the uterus. Read more about Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy – Causes & Treatment.
During pregnancy, the body releases a hormone called ‘relaxin’ which helps the body to prepare for child birth. One of the effects of this hormone is that the ligaments throughout the body get loosened thereby reducing the stability of the pregnant woman and making her susceptible to weakness. A host of mechanical and hormonal factors lead to various discomforts during Pregnancy period, the most prominent being the lower back pain. Studies indicate that nearly 5 – 7 out of 10 pregnant women suffer from this body condition.
- 1 Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy – Causes & Treatment
- 2 What causes back pain during Pregnancy?
- 3 Excessive weight gain during pregnancy
- 4 Shift in the center of gravity
- 5 Change in posture or position during pregnancy
- 6 Stress during pregnancy
- 7 Muscle separation
- 8 Previous health records
- 9 Hormonal changes during pregnancy
- 10 How to treat back pain during pregnancy?
- 11 How to prevent back pain during pregnancy
- 12 Best Yoga Poses During Pregnancy –
- 13 Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
- 14 Easy pose (Sukhasana)
- 15 Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)
- 16 Head to Knee Forward Bend(Janu Sirsasana)
- 17 Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
- 18 Warrior II pose (Virabhadrasana)
Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy – Causes & Treatment
What causes back pain during Pregnancy?
The origin of the back pain is at the sacroiliac joint where the pelvis meets the spine. The common reasons are overweight/obesity, previous history of back pain.
Here is a list of the most common causes of back pain in pregnant women:
Excessive weight gain during pregnancy
The weight of the growing baby and the uterus puts pressure on the blood vessels and nerves in the pelvis and back resulting in back pain during pregnancy. A normal weight gain during pregnancy is anywhere between 11 – 15 kga. Beyond that it becomes difficult for the spine to hold on to the additional weight. This is the foremost reason for back pain in pregnant women. The pressure also pinches your sciatic nerve and causes the pain to run down the back of your legs.
Shift in the center of gravity
Pregnancy shifts your center of gravity – to a small extent, but it hardly gets noticed as your body adjusts to maintain it’s posture. This causes back pain or strain in many cases.
Change in posture or position during pregnancy
Wrong posture, standing on one leg, excessive standing, bending frequently over the waist are all the contributing factors. This results in you adjusting your posture and the way you move causing a strain on your back. According to NHS you should avoid lifting heavy objects right from your 1st trimester.
Stress during pregnancy
Emotional, physical or psychological stress levels also determine the well being of the expecting mother. An increase in the stress levels leads to severely tightening of muscles leading to chronic back pain. Emotional stress can cause your muscles to be tense in the back. This tension is then felt as pain or back spasms. This pain increases whenever you face stressful periods in your pregnancy.
As the uterus expands, two sheets of muscles- the rectus abdominus run parallel from the rib cage to the pubic bone; they might get separated along the center seam causing severe back ache.
Previous health records
Any previous history of back pain, injury to the pelvis, hormonal imbalance, strenuous/monotonous work schedule, hypertension could all be the contributing factors for back pain or strain.
Also read – Food & Skin Allergies during Pregnancy
Hormonal changes during pregnancy
During pregnancy, the body releases a hormone called ‘relaxin’ which causes the loosening of the ligaments in your pelvis and makes the joints looser in preparation for the delivery process. So the ligaments around the back and spine also get loosened, thereby making it more susceptible to injury, instability & pain.
Fluid Retention & Oedema
Raised hormone levels cause your body to retain water during pregnancy. This causes your feet to get swollen and you feeling bloated. Your growing uterus puts pressure on the veins carrying blood back from your lower body partially blocked blood flow and retaining the fluid in your legs and feet.
How to treat back pain during pregnancy?
There is no established connection between ‘pregnancy’ and ‘back pain’. However, the good news is that this pain will disappear gradually after the child’s birth, or in many cases even before that. There are 12 simple and practical tips we would like to share with you which help you to ease or minimize your back pain & swelling. Dealing with the pains during pregnancy can be very stressful. With the added weight and the pressure of the growing baby, the pains just cause a lot of added stress and strain.
Regular exercise during pregnancy
Following a regular exercise routine will help you both in the short run and long run to strengthen your body, especially the core muscles and back muscles. It boosts your muscle flexibility and helps you to strengthen your spine. The recommended activities could be swimming, walking, stationary cycling, squatting, yoga. Depending upon your health condition, your gynecologist would suggest you a preferred exercise regime; including stretching, tummy and stabilization exercises will be very helpful to keep you healthy and fit! Monitor your weight – While it is normal to gain about 10-15 kgs during pregnancy, excessive weight gain aggravates swellings and can lead to other complications.
Elevate your feet
Keep your feet raised upto 6-12 inches above the level of your heart for 15-20 minutes atleast 3-4 times a day. This helps in easy flow of blood back to your lungs and heart.
Dress up right
This might not seem that important a factor, but it actually is! Right from your inner wear to the shoes you choose to wear – everything should be well thought of before you make the choice. Choosing to wear loose fitting clothes, flat heels, wearing maternity garments which have supportive bands to support your belly, the right size of maternity bra are some of the pre requisites you need to look into when you plan your shopping list. The whole underlying idea is that you need to be comfortable while you move around so that oxygen supply to the muscles is the maximum.
Ideal sleep position during pregnancy
It is strictly restricted to sleep on the back. The ideal position would be to sleep on the side with a pregnancy pillow in between the legs so that the pressure on the back muscles is minimum. During pregnancy, try sleeping on your sides and not your back as this helps relieve the pressure on the vena cava. The vena cava is the largest draining vein leading to your heart.
Read on the Best Sleep Positions During Pregnancy.
Stop lifting weights during pregnancy
It is very important that you do not lift weights. In case you have a toddler to take care of, then bend at your knees or squat to lift him up. Or you could sit on the ground and allow him to climb your lap. in no situation you should bend at your waist, as it adversely affects your back strain.
Heat and Cold therapy/fermentation
Applying heat packs or cold packs on your back will help in providing temporary relief from your back pain. If your gynecologist approves of it, then you could resort to application of cold packs in the form of ice bags or wrapping up frozen vegetables in a cloth bag on the prone areas. You could repeat this for 7 – 10 times in a day. After a couple of day switch to heat pads application. This will help to ease out the strain. However care should be taken to not touch the abdomen area.
You can also read – Getting Pregnant with the help of Ayurveda
Right posture during pregnancy
This factor should be taken care of with utmost diligence; as any wrong posture and you land up in aches and strains. This is how you do it:
- Avoid standing for long hours. In case your work demands it, then take breaks and take a while to rest on a chair.
- Place a rolled up towel behind your back to provide rest to the back.
- Avoid crossing your legs.
- Your feet should not be hanging in air; support them on a stack of blocks or a small stool.
- Always stand straight with your shoulder pulled back
- Sleeping on your side with a pillow is very effective as it reduces the strain on your back.
Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine where they use thin needles to stimulate certain points on your body to bring about relief from pregnancy pain. It is important for your to consult your doctor before you go ahead with trying this treatment.
Chiropractic form of medicine may also give you relief from back pain; provided it is performed by an authorized expert.
Balanced nutritious diet
A balanced nutritious diet is a pre-requisite to maintain good health throughout your pregnancy; as we all know healthy mommy means healthy born baby too. Cutting out caffeine and sugar completely from your diet is extremely useful in maintaining the parameters during the pregnancy period. A healthy balance of fats, carbohydrates, fibre, calcium and other minerals with a lot of fluid intake should be given the topmost priority. Avoid food causing Food & Skin Allergies During Pregnancy and include Best Pregnancy Vegetarian Superfoods in your daily diet.
It is said that a warm water bath with a few drops of essential oils added to the water is helpful in giving relief from the pain. But care should be taken that you do it under limited restrictions as too much of warmth might lead to false contractions.
Dehydration tends to worsen swellings. Consume plenty of fluids in different forms to stay hydrated. Learn How To Fight Fatique During Pregnancy
Try rotation exercises
Sit with one leg raised. Rotate that ankle 10 times to the right and then 10 times to the left. Repeat these 10 times in your other leg as well. This helps improve the circulation around your ankles and reduces swelling.
How to prevent back pain during pregnancy
Well, back pain, as we mentioned earlier is bound to happen as the spine bears the brunt of holding the extra pounds added during pregnancy. However, the relieving news is that we can include yoga exercises in our workout regime on a regular basis as it works wonders because it is a perfect combination of strengthening and stretching. Performing cardio vascular exercises for 15 – 30 minutes in a day on a regular basis and that too at a moderate level can be very helpful in strengthening the entire system. And plus it helps you maintain a healthy heart rate and pulse rate.
Best Yoga Poses During Pregnancy –
Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
This pose is very helpful in preparing the body gradually to ease childbirth. Practice of this asana has multi-benefits including relieving stress, fatigue, anxiety and depression.
Easy pose (Sukhasana)
As easy as the name suggests, this is one of the easiest poses you could practice to simply strengthen your back, spine, knees and ankles.
Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)
Extended Triangle Pose is the quintessential standing pose in many styles of yoga. It is an excellent stretching pose which works on hips, groins, hamstrings and calves, shoulder and chest. It is proven to be very helpful in relieving backpain during the second trimester of pregnancy; rich in therapeutic benefits too.
Head to Knee Forward Bend(Janu Sirsasana)
Very helpful for relieving back pain especially during the second trimester of pregnancy.
Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
This pose is said to stimulate pelvis. Spine, abdomen and bladder; which in turn is very helpful in easing child birth.
Warrior II pose (Virabhadrasana)
Another excellent asana which provides relief from back strain, especially during the second trimester of pregnancy. It is an effective stretching pose which also helps in strengthening of the groin, chest, lungs and shoulders.
Hope these yoga poses word out the best for helping in providing relief from back strain. However, it is always better to perform them under the supervision of a trained yoga instructor.
When should you visit your doctor?
If the pain becomes unbearable and lasts for more than 2 weeks, you must visit your physician immediately.
Also, if you experience the following along with your aches, you must consult your doctor for further guidance.
- Your pain is severe and is progressively worsening or is caused by trauma.
- You have fever, vaginal bleeding or a burning sensation when you pass urine.
- There is tingling or loss of sensation in one or both legs or you suddenly feel weak and cannot move.
- If the pain is sudden and wasn’t there before the third trimester, then it could a sign of preterm labour.
- If the pain is accompanied with fever, nausea, vomiting or giddiness.
While slight aches and pains are normal during pregnancy, any pain is a discomfort. Feel free to talk to your loved ones to help understand your pregnancy better and deal with the pain in a better way.