There are many things that an expectant mother goes through, all throughout the course of her pregnancy. Many discomforts are expected because the body changes to accommodate the growing baby. One of the most common complaints of women is back pain. This affects approximately 50% of pregnant women, due to the changes brought about by pregnancy.
Hormonal changes are expected as the body prepares itself for the baby’s birth. In particular the hormone relaxin, causes the softening of the ligaments between the pelvis. It also allows the joints to loosen in order to accommodate the passage of the baby during the birthing process. In turn, the structures supporting the pelvic organs become more flexible and it may affect normal back support. To add to that, the growing uterus forces your center of gravity to move forward, and the adjustments in posture may only put more strain on the back. And although weight gain during pregnancy is good for your baby, it can be bad for your back.
Some women experience back pain at varying degrees. Others find it hard to perform their normal activities while others have difficulty sleeping. The good thing about it is that, there are ways in order to prevent or treat it. Here are some simple steps:
1. Maintain a good posture. Pull your shoulders back and downward with buttocks tucked, to balance the weight of your uterus pulling forward. This will prevent the straining of the muscles of the lower back responsible for causing the back pain.
2. Use exercises that promote strengthening of the back and the abdomen. Make sure that these exercises are approved by your physician, in order not to compromise your health and the baby’s well being. An example is a pelvic tilt exercise. Kneel with your hands and knees, and makes sure your head is in line with your back. Pull back your abdomen and arch your spine upward. Stay in that position for several seconds, and then relax. Repeat the process and slowly work your way to ten. Again, discuss with your health care provider as to which exercises are good for you.
3. Wear low-heeled shoes that provide proper arch support. Wearing a support belt under your lower abdomen may also be helpful in preventing back pains.
4. In picking up objects, squat instead of bending over. The principle is to squat down, bend with your knees and use your legs to lift, rather than your back. Stretching your arms high over your head is also not advisable. It is also best to avoid lifting heavy objects or even older children as it may only add more strain on your back.
5. Lying on your side with a pillow between your knees is advisable. Lying on your back will only aggravate the problem. Commercially available body pillows may also help in promoting proper positioning during sleep.
6. Slightly elevate your feet when seated and avoid crossing your legs. It is also good to shift positions from time to time. Make sure to sit on intervals because standing for long periods may only aggravate back pain.
7. Alternately apply cold and warm compresses. Some women experience relief by alternating ice packs with warm compresses. A good back massage may also provide relief.
Many women experience back pain at certain levels during pregnancy. Although some women may find it tolerable, it is important to seek medical help right away if you notice changes in the character of the pain. Pregnancy typically allows you to know your body, and if it tells you that something might be wrong, it is then best to seek proper medical attention to avoid any harmful consequences.