Pregnancy brings many changes to the body of the expecting mother in a brief amount of time, which can cause some discomforts. Back pain during pregnancy is a very common occurrence with over 75% of expectant mothers experiencing it at one point or another.
Back pain can be triggered from the rapid weight gain during pregnancy. Pain in the hips is especially common during the first trimester as the uterus begins to grow, but is not yet big enough to be supported by the pelvic girdle. Lumbar pain can return in the third trimester when the mother’s center of gravity changes. Pair this weight gain with the loosening of the joints caused by the hormone, relaxin, and it is no surprise that back pain is common in pregnant women.
While many pregnant mothers suffer from back pain, there are several things you can do to help relieve it.
• Belly Support to Lessen Strain. Using a belly support can help tremendously with back pain during pregnancy. The added support helps counteract the additional weight that throws off your center of gravity. Something like the Belly Bandit that is flexible in use can be used postpartum as well before you have a chance to rebuild your core muscles.
• Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy for Back Pain. Chiropractic care can help pregnant women relieve their back pain. With the added pressure on the pelvic girdle the hips can become misaligned. This pelvic torsion is one big cause of pain, in addition to a host of other benefits like good fetal positioning and more efficient labors.
• Massage During Pregnancy. Sometimes back pain is caused by excess muscular tension, especially pain between the shoulders or along the spine. Prenatal massage therapy is a great way to relieve tight muscles and decrease back pain. Many massage therapists take continuing education to specialize in prenatal massage, but any massage therapist can work on a healthy pregnant woman. Some women feel more comfortable waiting until after the first trimester is over before going in for a massage but, unless your care provider says otherwise, there are no contraindications to massage therapy for most pregnant women.
• Epsom Salt Soak. A warm bath with Epsom salt is a great way to relieve muscle tension when you can’t get to the chiropractor or massage therapist. One cup of Epsom salt is usually a good amount for one bathtub soak. If you plan on immersing completely in the tub keep the water temperature at a moderate level to prevent overheating. If you are only going to be soaking your hips, legs or feet in the water you can make it a bit warmer, since your head and shoulders will be exposed to the air, keeping your temperature better regulated.
• Gentle Stretches, Prenatal Yoga or Pilates. Inactive muscles and poor posture are huge contributing factors in back pain. Prenatal yoga and pilates stretches can help keep muscles loose and limber. The emphasis of these stretches on good posture, and lengthening the spine help keep the body from imbalance so stress and strain on joints is decreased.
• Pregnancy Exercises. Again, with movement and activity comes a decrease in muscle tension and pain. Try some exercises that won’t add stress to the other joints of your body like high-impact aerobics will. Swimming is a great exercise choice for pregnant women. Walking is another great choice that increases circulation without straining the knees and hips.
Pregnancy is the perfect time to learn to take care of yourself. Monthly adjustments and massages can do wonders for your back pain – and stress levels.