Back pain during pregnancy is a common problem mothers battle due to extra weight from baby, muscle and ligament strain, hormones such as relaxin produced to prepare for childbirth and reduced activity.
Why does my lower back hurt?
You are progressively gaining weight in more than one part of your body, the center of gravity of your body is shifting, and the ligaments in the joints of your pelvis are being relaxed by your hormones.
Further, to compensate for our center of gravity moving forward as baby grows in the stomach, we usually compensate by leaning backward. This in-balance strains our lower back muscles, resulting in back pain.
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Hormonal changes loosen ligaments
Your ovaries produces more of a hormone called relaxin, which helps prepare the body for childbirth. "One of the effects of relaxin is the loosening of ligaments throughout the body, making pregnant women less stable and more prone to injury, especially in their backs.", according to KidsHealth
While making small changes in your daily life like having a healthy diet comprised of raw fruits and salads that contain vitamins and minerals, and improving your posture, both while awake and during sleeping does reduce the pain to a certain extent. However, it's not enough to rectify the pain completely on its own.
Here are 5 easy ways to reduce back pain during pregnancy:
1. Stay Active
While your first instinct when having back pain is probably to not move too much, the right sort of physical activity is the biggest solution to it. Even though rest is very important during pregnancy, it's just as important to get sufficient prenatal exercise and yoga.
Gentle activities like walking and swimming, Pilates or specialized stretches and exercises for lower back pain prescribed by a physical therapist can go a long way in keeping your back strong and pain-free during pregnancy.
Yoga can also help in improving your posture, tackling emotional stress, and preparing the body for the birthing process.
Pro Tip - Invest in comfortable, supportive maternity leggings
Wearing your partner's oversized t-shirts or your pre-pregnancy clothes, which hardly fit anymore, during exercises can lead to discomfort or dangerous heating. Invest in proper maternity capris or leggings, preferably athletic ones as they make the exercise sessions tremendously easier as they:
- Offer belly and back support
- Are designed for free movement
- Won't cut off circulation
- Are breathable
- Are moisture-wicking
- Are light-weight
- Are form-fitting to prevent tripping
Mumberry maternity support capris feel comfortable, look nice, and help you reap the most benefits out of your exercise by suiting the special needs of your body during pregnancy, and even grow with your stomach throughout your pregnancy. So invest in quality maternity capris made of quality materials for the best results!
2. Indulge in a Prenatal massage
Prenatal massages are one of the best solutions for immediate but temporary relief during acute back pain. Massage not only soothes irritated nerves, thus reducing pain, but it’s aromatic terpenes also help alleviate depression and anxiety during pregnancy.
A gentle and soothing massage with long smooth strokes is the most appropriate during pregnancy. So, invest in the likes of regular Swedish massages as they are perfect during pregnancy.
Be sure to consult your doctor before getting a massage and only get it done from certified therapists or chiropractor . Massaging wrong pressure points can even trigger contractions. Also, instead of a down-facing massage table, lie on a side facing table to accommodate your needs during pregnancy.
3. Change Your Shoes
High heels are a strict no-no during pregnancy when it comes to back pain. Not only do they increase the pressure on your back, but they also make you unstable, as they move your center of gravity even further, increasing your chances of falling, which is particularly dangerous during pregnancy.
However, flats are not advisable either as they leave your feet unsupported, which is again, undesirable during pregnancy. Hence, wearing a comfortable low heel is the most appropriate option during pregnancy as it distributes your weight evenly and helps reduce back pain.
4. Use a Maternity Support Belt
Maternity belts/bands will help to support your growing stomach by doing the work of your ligaments to hold it up. This supportive undergarment functions temporarily as your core abdominal muscles by holding your stomach up which helps reduce the pressure on your pelvic girdle and lower back, and hence reduces lower back pain by preventing your lower spine from painfully exaggerating its curvature.
However, this solution isn't enough in isolation and needs to be used in a complementary manner along with other solutions.
5. Apply Heat or Cold Packs
Like any other sort of back pain, a cold or heat pack can help tackle back pain. Use ice in 20-minute sessions several times a day to reduce swelling and inflammation and slow pain signals to the brain for the first two days during acute pain. Then use heat pads to promote healing, increase circulation and decrease any lingering aches in 15-minute sessions several times a day.
However, heat increases the chances of inflammation too, so be careful in your use of heating pads and definitely get them cleared with your physician.
As common as back pain is, if it lasts beyond 2 weeks, consult your physician soon. Now that you know these effective quick techniques to reduce back pain during pregnancy, enjoy these golden days pain-free!
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Sara O Brown is a working mom, lives with her dentist husband and her adorable dog, Casper. She is passionate about traveling and cooking. Find her recent writing on back pain- https://healthofback.com/lower-back-pain-treatment/.