Back pain is a common result of pregnancy and is not something that should catch you off-guard. There are many factors that contribute to the strain on a pregnant woman’s back. Carrying extra baby weight causes a shift in balance, and stress that attacks the pelvic area. In fact, a majority of pregnant women may experience back pain, however there are many ways you can safely treat and even prevent pregnancy-induced back pain. Here are some ways to help you have a comfortable pregnancy:
Your baby is growing and you may have noticed your body getting heavier in the front. This is your center of gravity shifting forward due to the weight of the baby. Walking or simply standing the way you used to before you became pregnant can mean falling on your face. Many women compensate for this new weight by leaning back. This is a bad habit to adopt and can put a tremendous amount of strain on your lower back muscles. Try these principles of good posture:
- Stand up tall and straight
- Keep your chest high
- Hold your shoulders back and relaxed
- Do not keep your knees locked
Keeping a wide stance when standing can provide you better support. Avoid standing for long periods of time. If you do, try to rest one foot on a low step stool. You should also remember to maintain proper posture when sitting. To keep your lower back supported, try placing a small pillow behind your lower back and keeping your upper back and neck straight while sitting. You may even prop your feet up to help you get more comfortable.
Wear Comfortable Clothes:
It may sound surprising, but what you wear can contribute to your back pain. Start with your shoes. Find comfortable, low-heeled shoes with good arch support. Even people who aren’t pregnant find that wearing the right pair of shoes can drastically help fight back pain.
Use a Support Belt:
You may want to use a maternity support belt. These elastic bands are worn under the clothes and help cradle your pregnant belly. Actual evidence for the effectiveness of these belts are slim, but there are many women who claim it helps support the baby better.
Learn to Lift Properly:
One of the last things you should be doing is lifting heavy objects. However, there will probably be many occasions when you will need to lift something relatively small and you do not have anyone there to help you. You may have heard from people who do heavy lifting in their work that you need to lift with the knees, not with the back. This is what you’ll need to do during your pregnancy. When lifting an object, squat down and lift the object by standing up with your legs. Never bend over at the waist to pick something up. Be sure to know your limits. A back injury during pregnancy can be a very uncomfortable experience.
Sleep on Your Side:
Sleeping on your side can be a lot more comfortable when you are pregnant. You do not want that extra weight pushing straight down on your spine at night. Keep one or both knees bent, perhaps with a pillow between them to provide better support. If you do not feel supported enough, try adding a pillow under your abdomen. Also, some women feel more comfortable simply cuddling a full-length body pillow.
Using heating pads on your back can provide some relief. This works even better when followed by a back rub. If you need a more professional back rub, you can schedule a prenatal massage to ensure that your back pains are specifically addressed.
If you are already experiencing back pain, you many not want to consider taking on any physical activities into your daily routine, but they can help. Remember that your goal is to keep your back strong in order to relieve your pain. Try gentle activities like walking and swimming.
You should also practice stretching your lower back properly. Start by placing your hands and knees on the ground and keep your head in line with your back. Pull in your stomach and round your back slightly. Hold this position for several seconds, then relax your muscles and keep your back as flat as possible. You can gradually work this up to ten repetitions if you feel up to it.
Chiropractic treatments have been shown to relieve back pain in women during pregnancy. There are simple chiropractic treatments that can provide comfort. Before you accept any complementary treatments, however, discuss it with Dr. Ayalon first to make sure the back pain is not caused by some other condition.
Patients who are experiencing minor pain may take pain medication such as Tylenol to subside the pain. Please contact our office if you are thinking about taking any pain medication.
Sources: Pregnancy Week by Week & Back Pain