Up to 70% of pregnant women will experience some form of back pain during the pregnancy. There are lots of reasons for this and some are less obvious than others. One of the obvious reasons for pregnancy back pain is the increased frontal weight being carried for 9 months. Your back muscles and spine support this weight continuously and it can result in back pain. The less obvious reason is any already weak muscles in the back will be further strained during this time and conditions not originally related to pregnancy will be aggravated.
In addition, during pregnancy there are many body changes happening that can lead to pregnancy back pain. For example, pregnancy hormones lesson the firmness of joints and ligaments. Also, pregnant women often don’t maintain proper posture because of the additional weight they carry. It’s harder to keep the spine erect and there’s a tendency to bend slightly at the waist or hips. Your baby is precious weight, but it’s weight that can play havoc with a mother’s back.
There are ways to deal with pregnancy back pain though. The first thing you can do is easy – be aware of your posture at all times. You should try to keep your spine in its correct position during the 9 months and that may prevent a lot of the back pain. Also, there are some simple guidelines you can follow that will minimize the stress on your spine.
• Sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees
• Don’t try to bend at the waist; always squat and use your legs for lifting
• Use ice or heating pads for back pain
• Wear an abdomen supporting garment that takes some of the load off your spine
• Wear proper shoes which means no heels (they aren’t safe to walk in during pregnancy anyway)
You should also do exercises to prevent or reduce pregnancy back pain. Yoga exercises for pregnant women have become very popular, because they are no-impact activities. They are designed to strengthen muscles and improve flexibility, but also to reduce stress. Stress can make back pain much worse.
Other low impact exercises can reduce pregnancy back pain also. Regular walking is excellent providing both muscle strengthening and aerobic benefits. Another excellent exercise for pregnancy back pain is the pelvic tilt. This is where you lay on the floor with your knees bent. Then you flatten your abdomen against the floor and release. You can also do knee bends, side stretches and back arches.
The key to minimizing pregnancy back pain is developing strong back muscles ready to handle the additional weight in the abdomen. The weight of the baby stretches ligaments being softened by the pregnancy hormones. No wonder so many pregnant women experience back pain. If you are planning on becoming pregnant, one of the best gifts you can give yourself is a strong back. You can begin back exercises before you ever find out you’re pregnant.