Healthy growth of the baby in the womb, this is exactly what a mother-to-be and the entire family wants. However, the baby bump can go tough on the back of the mother-to-be. Almost every pregnant woman experiences back pain especially during the second half of the pregnancy. It has been revealed in several studies that around 50% to 80% of the pregnant ladies experience pain in their back. The pain can be acute and triggered by some specific activities and it might become a chronic back pain.
A lot of mothers-to-be report lower back pain during the fifth, sixth and seventh month. However, it might also begin in the 8th week.
Types of Back Pain during Pregnancy
Following are the two common types of pregnancy back pain:
- Lower back pain (also known as Lumbar pain)
- Posterior Pelvic Pain
Lumbar Pain or Lower back Pain
Lumbar pain occurs just above the waist and in the center of the back. This pain might or might not radiate into legs or feet of the patient. Prolonged postures including standing, sitting and repetitive lifting often can increase the lower back pain. Muscle tenderness along the spine also increases lower back pain during pregnancy.
Posterior Pelvic pain
The prevalence of posterior pelvic pain is four times the lower back pain. The mother-to-be suffering from this type of back pain experiences deep pain below and on the sides of the waistline.
What Are Some Common Causes Of Pregnancy Related Back-Pain?
There are multiple factors responsible for this back pain during pregnancy. These factors include:
- Increased Weight
- Changed Posture
- Hormone Changes
- Muscle Separation
- Emotional Stress
It is actually very important to gain the right amount of weight during pregnancy. Her body needs some extra calories. A woman gains 25 to 35 pounds of weight during healthy pregnancy. It is the spine that supports this increased weight. Apart from this, the healthy growth of the baby and weight of uterus is also increased. The pressure of this weight comes on the blood vessels and nerves found in the pelvis and back.
Center of gravity is changed during pregnancy which results in muscle imbalance and muscle fatigue also becomes frequent. These changes cause back pain and strain.
A hormone called relaxing released during pregnancy loosens the joints which is essential for preparing for the birth process. However, these hormones also loosen the ligaments supporting the spine. This also causes instability and back pain.
Changes in muscles occur left, right and centre during pregnancy. Rectal Abdominis Muscles, which we all know as abdominal muscles or simply abs are likely to separate along the centre seam as the uterus expands. This muscle separation also causes back pain.
Muscle tension in the back due to emotional stress is often felt as back spasms or back pain. Mother-to-be experiences more pain during stressful periods.
As prevention is better than cure, let’s see how a mother-to-be can prevent or at least minimize back pain.
Preventing or Minimizing Back Pain during Pregnancy
Back pain during pregnancy can be easily managed or minimized.
- Follow exercise plan approved by the doctor.
- Avoid bending over while picking up something. Squat to pick up stuff.
- Do not wear high heels. Any footwear that does not provide adequate support should be avoided.
- SOS (sleep on sides) is the best sleeping position for a pregnant woman. Sleeping on the back will increase the risk of back pain.
- Some mothers-to-be find support belts pretty helpful. Simply wear one under the lower abdomen.
- She can also visit a chiropractor for getting back adjusted.
- Take rest
Pregnancy Back Pain Treatment
The mother-to-be gradually begins to get pain relief naturally before giving birth. However, she should seek treatment in case it is chronic back pain.
- Heat and Cold
- Improving Posture
Heat and Cold
Cold compresses with a bag of ice can be helpful. She can also wrap some frozen vegetables in a towel and use it as a bag of ice. Apply a cold compress on the painful area several times a day for 20 minutes. Switch cold compress with a hot water bottle or a heating pad after two or three days. However, she should be careful and should apply heat to the abdomen.
Exercise can increase flexibility and muscle strength. Regular exercise will reduce the stress on the spine. Walking, swimming, aerobics and stationary cycling are some of the safest exercises during pregnancy. These exercises strengthen back and abdomen. However, the exercise plan should be approved by the doctor.
Some changes in postures while sleeping, sitting or walking can provide relief from the back pain. Stop slouching. It strains the spine. Sleep on side keeping a pillow between knees. Placing a rolled-up pillow behind back will help in relieving back pain while sitting at a desk. She should sit up straight with her feet resting on a stool or a stack of books.
The mother-to-be should talk to a counselor if the back pain is due to stress.
The pregnant lady should consult with her doctor and if her doctor recommends, she can consider chiropractic manipulation of the spine. Chiropractic manipulation is of great help if done correctly.
This is a Chinese system of treatment in which the patient is treated by inserting needles into the skin at certain locations. It has been proven to be effective in pregnancy related back pain.
In case of severe back pain, the woman should see a doctor. Rhythmic cramping pains, difficulty in urinating, pain beginning abruptly and increasingly severe pain, the woman should see a doctor.
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