Coping with back pain during pregnancy
Back pain during pregnancy is a common and unwelcome side effect for many women. Most expectant mothers experience it to some level, and it is caused by a number of factors and elements. There are, however, precautions that can be taken and ways to relieve some of the discomforts.
Causes of back pain during pregnancy
All women experience pregnancy differently, as their babies and bodies develop in different ways. But, there are many changes that cause the similar back pains that most experience:
A hormone called relaxin is produced by the body during pregnancy. This relaxes the ligaments in the pelvis and loosens the joints, in order to prepare for the birth of the baby. As the spine loosens, the joints can become unstable and cause pain at the base.
Throughout pregnancy, a healthy woman would expect to gain up to 15kgs. Carrying this extra weight puts extra strain on the spine and can cause pain and discomfort. Your posture and the way you walk would also change to adapt to this extra weight, increasing the strain on the back and spine.
The rectal abdominis muscles, two muscles running from the rib cage to the pubic bone, separate down the middle as the uterus expands with the growing baby. This weakness in muscle increases back pain as it adds strain to the spine and relies on other muscles for strength.
Treating back pain during pregnancy
With all the body is going through, a certain level of discomfort is often unavoidable. But there are some exercises and adaptations that can be made, to keep pain levels as low as possible.
Exercises for Pregnancy Back Pain
Focusing on exercises that strengthen the abdominal muscles can often help to relieve back pain. Walking, swimming and yoga sessions are all ideal, as the emphasis should be on gentle sessions that will help with flexibility. There are often pre-natal classes as local gyms and leisure centres, which focus on exercises for pregnant women.
Attempting to keep the posture as correct and strong as possible is a vital step in improving back pain, for all people as well as pregnant women. Ensure you have the correct desk chair when working in an office, and keep the spine straight and upright. Sleeping on your side with a towel between the knees also helps to straighten out the spine while in bed.
For women experiencing severe back pain, studies show that acupuncture can sometimes help to relieve some of the discomforts. Speak to a professional or your health care provider about the options available, and they will be able to talk through what is involved.
Consult a professional for Pregnancy Related Back Pain
If your levels of back pain are high and it becomes a real problem, do not hesitate to speak to your GP. They may be able to refer you to a physiotherapist or Chiropractor to look into further treatments to relieve some pain. Fortunately, if there were no back issues prior to pregnancy, most women’s pain will ease by the time the baby is born or soon afterwards.