If you’re pregnant and experiencing back pain, you’ll be glad to know you’re not alone. While statistics vary, as many as 50 to 70 percent of women who are pregnant also experience pain in their back.
Causes of Back Pain During Pregnancy
Some of the causes of back pain during pregnancy includes:
- Weight gain – women typically gain between 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy which puts a strain on the back
- Growth of the baby – as the baby grows more pressure gets applied to blood vessels and nerves
- Change in posture – this change in posture is a result a shift in your center of gravity
- Change in hormones – a hormone called relaxin is produced to prepare for birthing process but it also causes ligaments in the spine to loosen
- Separation of muscles – the rectal abdominis muscles begin to separate as the uterus expands
- Stress – when stress occurs it often manifests in the form of physical pain in the body
Know When to Call the Doctor
Back pain is relatively normal during pregnancy but if it seems excessive or completely debilitating, you may need to contact your health care provider. If the back pain comes on abruptly or is accompanied by cramping pains or vaginal bleeding, it may be an indication of preterm labor. Also, if there is burning during urination or fever, this may indicate an underlying problem for which you should be seen for right away.
Proper Footwear to Relieve Back Pain During Pregnancy
Wearing proper footwear is one thing women can try to help relieve symptoms of back pain while they are pregnant. Women should forgo wearing high heels during pregnancy, but they should also avoid wearing shoes that are completely flat. According to The American Podiatric Medical Association, women should wear comfortable shoes that have good shock absorption. Since women’s arches can flatten because of the added weight during pregnancy, it is best to find shoes that relieves the added stress to the foot.
Gentle Physical Activities
Gentle stretches and exercises can also help alleviate back pain. Walking is a great exercise as is riding a stationary bicycle. Swimming is one of the best types of exercise during pregnancy as it can help you to feel weightless despite your weight gain. Swimming can also help remove the added pressure on your spine which in turn can help alleviate back pain. If you sit a lot at work get up and move around if you can. If you have to stay at your desk, take breaks periodically to get up and move around, and be mindful of your posture. *Be sure to consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise plan while pregnant.
Sleeping Positions During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, you will also want to consider how you sleep. To keep back pain at bay try the following:
- Sleep on your left side
- Use a posture pillow
- Sleep on a firmer mattress or put a board under your current mattress
One more thing you can do to help relieve back pain during pregnancy is to consider complementary therapies. Before starting a new kind of treatment, especially while pregnant, it is always good to check with your doctor first. Here are some alternative types of therapies that have helped pregnant women:
If you are pregnant and would like help relieving back pain, be sure to visit us at Advanced Back & Neck Care.
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