Pregnancy and Back Pain

Pregnancy is tough.

In addition to healthcare professionals, information on other expectant mothers and the mothers who have completed the journey could help get a better handle on common challenges during pregnancy.

Back pain is one of these challenges that usually starts at about half way point. Your baby is growing, and that extra weight increases the pressure on your back.

What causes back pain during pregnancy?

Some likely possibilities are:

Pregnancy weight gain – To carry 25 to 35 additional weight is typical. If you have ever picked up a 25-pound dumbbell or carried a 35-pound weight plate for a hundred yards, you know how much stress it could cause on your lower back. Now imagine carrying that weight around the clock.

That is a lot of load on the pelvis, spine and all the muscles that control them.

Change in posture – The weight of the baby shifts the center of gravity down and forward. Women who slouch will slouch even more and those who don’t are pulled into a slouch position. The slouch position changes the curvature of the spine and increases the pressure on the low back muscles.

Changes in hormones – Relaxin hormone increase loosens the ligaments in preparation for natural dilation during birth. Relaxin loosens all the ligaments including those that need to remain tight to keep the back aligned and pain-free.

Muscle separation – Expanding uterus may separate the rectus abdominis (six packs) and reduce the ability of your abs to brace your core and help your back muscles.

Stress Factors – Stress tightens everything up. Both men and women who are not pregnant feel low back pain during times of stress.

What can you do for your pregnancy back pain?

Safe Exercises – Talk to a doctor or a physical therapist to see what kind of activities you can perform safely. Some positions like lying on your back carry additional risk even though it may seem right. Walking, swimming and stationary cycling may help keep your weight down. However, they do very little to help your lower back. Exercises that tighten your hip flexors will increase your low back pain.

Heat and cold compresses – Under the direction of your health care provider, you can apply a combination of hot and cold compresses for temporary relief. Again compresses do not stabilize or balance the tensions within your back muscles.

Remove The Slouch – An easy way to recognize which exercises could help your lower back is to focus on those exercises that help you stand up tall and extend your spine. While you are at it, take a look at the way you sit, stand and work. Arrange your desk and work environment to help your posture.

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