To all expectant moms,
Are you experiencing lower back pain as you move on with your pregnancy journey? You’re not alone in this…
Many other women are undergoing the same suffering. As a matter of fact, lower back pains during pregnancy is a reality of life for every pregnant mother. Reports show that 50-70% of pregnant women experience lower back pain.
The degree of this discomfort varies in individuals and can occur at any stage of your pregnancy. But most commonly, it occurs during the later stages as your baby grows.
The problem interferes with your daily routine and even denies you a good night sleep.
Good news, however, is that there are several steps you can take to manage the lower back pain that you’re experiencing right now…
Ready to learn what these steps are? Good. Come with me as I introduce you to the most effective ways of dealing with this awkward experience…
But before that we’ll look at the major causes of lower back pain in pregnant women:
Causes of Lower back pain while pregnant
Lower back pain in pregnant women arises from many factors. Some women start experiencing the pain at the onset of the pregnancy. Overweight women or those had this issue before are at a higher risk of getting the pain while pregnant.
Potential Causes of Lower back pain while pregnant are:
Hormonal changes that take place in your body during pregnancy are the main culprits behind the lower back pain. During the first half period of your pregnancy, the level of progesterone hormone in your body surges to helps loosen and relax the tissues and ligaments that will stretch as your pregnancy develops.
When you enter the second half stage of your pregnancy, your brain releases another hormone known as Relaxin, which helps the ligaments between your muscles and the pelvic girdle to open more and create room for the baby to be born.
At this point, you can guess that your joints will shift, and your ligaments will loosen. Thus, your back will not enjoy the support it’s used to. The result is instability and back pain.
In the case of healthy pregnancy, a woman will typically gain weight due to the developing pregnancy and the baby- between 25 and 30 pounds.
Consequently, your spine gets a new job- it has to support all that weight. This can stress the spine to the point of making you experience back pain. The weight of your growing baby as well as uterus also exerts pressure on the blood vessels and nerves present at your back and in the pelvis.
Changes in Your Posture
Yes, you heard it right… The way you pose when pregnant can significantly contribute to lower back pain. If you adopt a poor posture, stand excessively, or bend over, the chances are high that you’ll trigger that awkward back pain. Even worse, this can escalate the pain if you already have it.
Another common cause of pain in the lower back in pregnant women is stress. The same factor also causes back pain for people who have stress in their daily lives.
“Having a baby is, for a lot of women, stressful, especially if it’s their first and they don’t know what to expect.” That’s according to Robert Kum, D.C, a renown chiropractor in Massachusetts who has treated thousands of pregnant women.
The emotional stress accumulates in the weak areas of your body. And bearing in mind the changes that have occurred in your pelvis areas (as we discussed above), it will cause an increase in muscle tightness which will be felt as lower back pain.
You’ll find an increase in the lower back pain during the stressful days of your pregnancy.
Center of Gravity
Pregnancy cause a significant shift in your center of gravity. It gradually moves forward as your uterus and baby continue growing. With time, you’ll begin to your body posture and even the way you move. A change in posture will directly lead to back strains.
As you uterus continues growing and expanding, the two parallel sheets of muscles running from your rib cage to your pubic bone tend to separate along the middle seam. This separation worsens the lower back pain.
Top Treatments for Lower back pain while pregnant
More good news: unless you were suffering chronic backaches before you got pregnant, the pain eases even before you give birth.
We promised to introduce you to the most effective ways of treating the lower back pain, right? Let’s discuss this next:
One of the top remedies for lower back pain in pregnant women is acupuncture. This is an East Asian medical practice which involves inserting very fine needles into specified pressure points (corresponding to different psychical and emotional pressure health systems) on your body.
Studies have confirmed a positive correlation between this technique and low back pain in pregnant women. Many women who have undergone the treatment also swear by its effectiveness not only for relieving back pain but also morning sickness and migraine headaches.
However, it’s good to consult your doctor to know of the treatment is right for you. Also, look for a certified therapist who has treated other pregnant women before. This will help prevent unwanted side effects e.g. headaches, nausea, and over stimulation that might lead to labor.
Yoga is a movement based practice for strength and flexibility that has its root sin India. What’s more, it’s among the most popular methods that women turn to relieve lower back pain.
Prenatal Yoga in particular acts as the best reliever for pregnant women undergoing back, joints, muscles, and nerves aches. This practice helps improve your posture as you prepare for the birth of your child.
Additional health benefits of prenatal yoga include:
- Tackling emotional stress with the deep and mindful breathing exercises that strengthen and empowers.
- Giving you a better sleep and relaxing your mind as well as the muscles.
You can also seek chiropractic care you’re having severe back pains as a result of your pregnancy.
If you find an experienced chiropractor who has worked with expectant mothers before, he’ll be able to manipulate your spine correctly in addition to prescribed exercises that help reduce muscles tightness, joint misalignment, and nerve compression. All this means relieve to your back strains.
Cycling can be an another exercise for healthy pregnancy. There is a controversy whether cycling during pregnancy is safe OR not. There’s no proof that high-intensity exercise harms your baby, but we suggest you to use best recumbent bike and stay safe.
Swimming stands among the highly recommended exercises for pregnant women.
Because it takes the pressure off your spine:
When suspended in water, you’re totally weightless, and gravity has no any effect on your body. If you merely pad up and down the pool lanes, you’ll decompress your spine, torn your back, arms, legs, and core muscles.
As you enjoy full-body movements in the safe space, breath fully and deeply so that you can stay afloat.
As your pregnancy progresses, it’s highly recommended that you swim the breaststroke to help strengthen your chest and back muscles.
Remember to be well dehydrated when swimming at all times, and stop when you feel dizzy, lightheaded.
NOTE: If you’ve got a high-risk pregnancy, consult your doctor before hitting the pool.
Aside from treating acute injuries, physical therapy also helps relieve low back pain in pregnant mothers by manipulating the muscles, joints, nerve pressure joints, and giving exercise that expectant moms can do at home.
Because your joints will become lax due to hormonal changes, physical therapy also attempts to limit the motion range of your joints to around 75% thereby preventing tissue overstretch that might lead to pain.
Meditation is unlike Yoga in that you can access it at any place, anytime, without anyone’s appointment. The practice involves sitting or lying down in a quiet place and focusing on your breathing (mindfully) as you exhale and inhale deeply.
You can choose to meditate in silence or calming music or a guided audio (there are pregnancy specific audios that make you visualize/feel love waves circuiting your developing baby).
As the experts explain, meditation elicits a biological response that stimulates your brain to control the release of stress hormone and thus minimize its toxic effects including back pain.
An added benefit of meditation for pregnant women is increased pain tolerant level which helps you manage the back pain as well as labor/delivery pain.
More Steps to prevent the occurrence of lower back pain while pregnant include:
- Avoid sleeping on your back
- Make an effort to improve your posture
- Ensure you have plenty of rest. Try to elevate your legs as you rest
- Wear a support belt (maternity belt) under your lower abdomen
- Squat if you want to pick up something rather than bending over
- Wearing suitable shoes that give your sufficient body support. Avoid shoes such as high heels.
Lower back pains is a common experience for all pregnant mothers. All you need to do when you get these pains is follow the effective treatment methods we outlined above. When done correctly, these treatment options will relieve your pain quickly and before the birth of your baby.
If you continue experiencing severe pain on you lower back even after trying all the above methods, it’s important to contact your health care provider for professional assistance.