Oh my aching back! Is your pregnancy becoming a pain in your back?You’re not alone. Back pain is one of the most common complaints during pregnancy. Some women experience back pain early in the pregnancy and it remains throughout the nine months. In other women, the pain gets worse leading to Postpartum Back Pain. Some pregnant women suffer from upper back pain, while some suffer from lower back pain.
Here are the types of back pain are during pregnancy, what causes the back pain, and how you can cope with it during pregnancy.
Is it normal to have back pain during pregnancy?
Of course, it is! The good news is, your baby is growing. That's exactly what is happening. Pregnancy brings a variety of changes and discomforts to the body. Some of them are emotional and some of them are physical changes. Along with nausea and fatigue, most women experience back pain at some points during pregnancy. There are many factors including hormonal & postural changes, shifting of the centre of gravity, weight gain, muscular imbalances and muscular fatigue are the reason for back pain during pregnancy.
Reasons For Back Pain in Pregnant Women
- Weight Gain: On average, during pregnancy women typically gain around 10-15 kgs. It is very is normal and vital for the baby’s growth. The amount of extra weight puts additional pressure on the lower back and joints. Your spine needs to support that weight. Moreover, the additional weight of the baby and expanding uterus puts pressure on the blood vessels and nerves in the back and the pelvis region.
- Changes in the Posture: Increased weight and growing uterus shift the centre of gravity of your body and you may tend to lean forward and start to adjust your posture to balance the body weight without even noticing. This change in the posture triggers back pain.
- Hormone Changes. Throughout your pregnancy, hormones called relaxin and estrogen are released. Relaxin is responsible to lose the ligaments in the pelvic area to relax, and joints in preparation for the birth process. As a result, muscles supporting the spine are relaxed and loosen up which causes instability and back pain.
- Muscle Separation: Expanding uterus separate the Rectus Abdominis muscles along the centre seam - two parallel sheets of musclesthat run from the rib cage to the pubic bone. This separation triggers back pain during pregnancy.
- Stress :Along with physical changes, you undergoes many emotional changes during pregnancy .For some women, serious anxiety or depression problems increase during pregnancy. Any kind of emotional stress has a direct impact on your overall health. Emotional stress can cause muscle tension and stiffness in the back region. It worsens the back pain during pregnancy.
- Fatigue :Pregnancy is not an excuse for not running your Errands and doing day-to-day activities. However, you will feel Exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue after doing a simple task. Additionally, the change in the centre of gravity creates muscular fatigue and changes your body posture. As a result, you experience the back pain.
- Muscular Imbalances :As your body has to carry extra weight, the shift in the centre of gravity also induces muscular imbalances. This additional weight put more stress on your joints. These muscular imbalances causetension on load-bearing organs in the body. If you are already having weakness or inflexibility of muscles, muscular imbalance gets worsen and increases back pain.
Back pain during early pregnancy or first trimester (0 to 13 Weeks)
Hormonal changes during pregnancy are one of the main reason behind back pain in early pregnancy. In early pregnancy, the body’s level of progesterone - a hormone that stimulates the uterus increase to loosen the ligaments attaching pelvic bone and the spine. It helps to make the body softer and stretch to prepare for your labour. It puts extra pressure on the joints of your lower back and pelvis, which can cause back pain.
Back pain during the second trimester of pregnancy (14 to 26 Weeks)
During the second trimester, expanding uterus weakens the abdominal muscles. A woman’s centre of gravity shifts to the front of the body as the baby grows in weight. Some women may lean back to regain body balance. It puts extra puts pressure on the back muscles which changes your body posture. Hence, it is high time for back pain.
Back pain during the third trimester of pregnancy (27 to 40 Weeks)
As your body goes to further changes to prepare for childbirth, the hormone level increases to enhance the flexibility in your pelvis. It helps your baby to pass more easily through the birth canal. As connective tissues are loosened and stretched, you can experience lower back and hip pain. Also during the third trimester, you are carrying extra weight which increases the stress on your joints. It leads to increased back pain while walking, standing for long hours, getting out of a low-level chair, or bending and lifting things.
Treatments for Back Pain in Pregnant Women
- Exercise : Exercising during pregnancy is one of the best options to get relief from back pain.You should strengthen the back muscles with pregnancy-friendly exercises approved by your doctor. Swimming, weight training, walking and stretching can be good exercises.
- Practice good posture : As pregnancy advances, your baby grows and to prevent falling forward, your body starts leaning backwards. This postural changes stress the lower back muscle and increases back pain. To avoid this, you need to practice good postures. Start standing and sitting upright, so the back is straight and shoulders square. Rest your feet and taking frequent breaks to avoid standing for long hours.
- Maternity Footwear: When you got news of pregnancy, you must have checked a variety of maternity clothes you want to buy. But what about comfortable pregnancy footwear? Just like clothing, wearing the right footwear is very important to provide proper support to your feet. Footwear with arch supports can help you ease your walking experiences.
- Lift Properly : You should avoid standing for long periods as well as lifting heavy objects. Keeppractising proper lifting techniques by squatting down slowly and using the legs instead of the back. You can simply ask for help to avoid bending and causing unnecessary pain.
- Sleeping Position :Your sleeping postures is very important during pregnancy.You should avoid sleeping on the abdomen. Try to sleepon the side, keep your knees bent, use a pillow between the legs and below the abdomen for support. You can also consider using a firm mattress to support your back.
When to see a doctor
Back pain is a common part of pregnancy. However, if you have severe back pain or pain that lasts more than 2 weeks, you need to talk with your doctor. He or she can provide medication or other treatments to get relief.
Now you are aware about back pain during pregnancy, its causes, types and how to cope up with it, stop worrying and enjoy the beautiful journey of becoming a mother. Happy Pregnancy!!