Many pregnant women have back pain due to thier changing bodies. As the uterus and the baby grow your center of mass(the point where all of your weight is concentrated) shifts. The additional body weight and weaker abdominal muscles also can contribute to the low back pain. Another cause of low back pain could be due to the hormone, relaxin which relaxes the joints and tissues. Activities such as rolling incorrectly out of bed (you should always lay on your side, let your feet slide to the floor, then use your arms to assist you up), lifting heavy objects or too much, twisting, climbing stairs, and running or walking can bring on the back pain or make it worse.
There are two types of back pain associated with pregnancy:
1. Lumbar Back Pain is usually around the waist in the center of the back. This usually occurs when you spend too long in a certain position or activity. It also may feel worse at the end of the day. Sometimes the pain can radiate to your leg. This called be Sciatica. Sciatica occurs in very few pregnant women. It is mostly associated with hernia or a bulging disk in the lower part of the spine. If you feel tingling, weakness, or loss of sensation you should call your doctor.
2. Posterior Pelvic Pain is felt at the back of your pelvis around or below your waist. This is the most frequent type of back pain for pregnant women. You may feel it in your buttocks and/or the backs of your thighs. This is a deeper pain that doesn’t always go away with rest and you may feel it more in the morning.
Here are a few ways to alleviate back pain:
1. Cardio Exercise (you knew I was going to say that didn’t you?). Walking and swimming are a great way to get low impact cardio. Be sure you have supportive and comfortable sneakers and socks.
2. Strengthen. Strengthening exercises for the back, hamstrings, and transverse abdominals. Bridges, Pelvic tilts, Kegels, and wall squats are great exercises to do daily!
3. Stretch. It is important to stretch after you exercise. Stretch the hamstrings, chest, and hips.
4. Check your posture. When we are pregnant we are constantly adapting to our changing bodies. We tend to slump our shoulders forward and arch our backs. Get those shoulders back ladies!
5. Use a Pillow. Putting a pillow between your knees when you sleep supports your lower back by keeping your hips level. You can also use a pillow or wedge to support your belly.
6. Get a Prenatal Massage. I indulged in a monthly massage when I was pregnant. It’s so helpful in loosening and relaxing the body. Bonus- the pregnancy pillow that supports you lying on your belly during the massage is FABULOUS.