5 ways to relieve your agonizing back pain during pregnancy

Published on: 12 December 2021, 12:00 pm IST

If you are suffering back pain during pregnancy, there could be several reasons at play. Here’s all you need to know, courtesy our expert.

importance of exercise during pregnancy
Not exercising enough and right could lead to aches and pains. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Trying to figure out what the back pain in your pregnancy is all about? Backaches during pregnancy are common and considered normal, if the baby is growing well and stays healthy. As the body goes through several changes during this time, back pain can disrupt day-to-day activities, especially the second trimester onward.

One of the causes of excessive back pain during pregnancy is the relaxin hormone. Your body releases this hormone which prepares you for childbirth. Relaxin may loosen, relax and soften ligaments in the joints of your pelvis, which can make you less stable during pregnancy. Therefore, women become more prone to back injuries and pain.

Other causes of back pain

There might be other causes of your increasing back pain like:

  • Stress

    Stress can lead to back pain, irrespective of whether you are pregnant or not. Excessive worrying about your baby, pregnancy, work, or family can lead to stress, which causes tightening and weakening of muscles.

  • Weight gain

    Due to weight gain during pregnancy, your back may find it hard to support the growing weight, therefore, causing strain on the muscles. This leads to pain in the lower back.

  • The posture of the body

    As your belly grows bigger, your posture will change due to the shift in the centre of gravity. This will lead to changes in posture while you are sitting, walking, or sleeping, and eventually, trigger back pain.

  • Muscle separation

    As the uterus expands, two parallel sheets of muscles (the rectus abdominis muscles), which run from the rib cage to the pubic bone, may separate along the centre seam. This separation may worsen back pain.

    backpain pregnancy
    Gaining some weight during pregnancy is normal, but it may contribute to back pain. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  • Round ligament pain is common and normal during pregnancy

As the uterus and surrounding ligaments stretch to make room for the baby, it can cause short, painful spasms. Rest and other home remedies may help. But do call your healthcare provider, if the pain won’t go away.

How to treat or ease back pain during pregnancy?

  1. Maintain a good posture

    As the centre of gravity shifts forward due to the increasing growth of the baby, women have to lean back to avoid falling forward, which can strain their back muscles. To improve your posture, you should try to stand straight and tall. While sitting, you can place a rolled cloth or towel behind your back for support. Keep your shoulders and back relaxed. If you are standing, try to pull your hips forward.

  2. Massage your back

    In case of a backache, you can apply a heating pad or ice pack and massage. After consulting your doctor, you can put cold compression on your back for a few minutes. After 2-3 days, you can switch to a heating pad and apply it to the area.

    back pain pregnancy
    Your sleeping position during pregnancy makes a lot of difference. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  3. Do physical activities

    Do some gentle physical activities, but only after consulting your doctor. Try to do some pregnancy-safe stretching exercises which can give you relief from back pain. Stretch your lower back as well.

  4. Sleep properly

    Always remember to sleep on your side and not on your back. You should keep your knees bent and put pillows between your knees for support.

  5. Lift things in a proper way

    Avoid lifting any heavy objects. If you want to lift something, do not bend at the waist. Instead, squat down and lift the object with your legs, and not with the back.

Any other tips?

Also, avoid wearing high heels without good arch support. You should also elevate your feet while sitting and provide additional support to your back with a lumbar pillow. Avoid taking any pain medications without consulting your doctor.

Keep in mind that excessive back pain, which lasts for more than two weeks might be a sign of an underlying condition. You must seek medical advice from your doctor, who will prescribe you medications. Back pain with several other symptoms can indicate urinary tract infection (UTI) or preterm labour (if there are rhythmic pains).

Dr V Aruna Kumari Dr V Aruna Kumari

Dr V Aruna Kumari,Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist,Electronic City, Bengaluru

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