Your pregnancy is supposed to be one of the most magical times of your life, but it comes with all sorts of unwanted surprises.
Many women are familiar with morning sickness and overactive bladders, but what about back pain?
The pressure of carrying your child for nine months can wreak havoc on your lower back. It is estimated that low-back pain during pregnancy affects approximately fifty percent of women.
While most people might turn to an over-the-counter pain reliever, expectant mothers must try to find more natural approaches for their pain. Get back to the place where you can enjoy your pregnancy with a few of these tips to handle your back pain.
Does it seem counterintuitive that exercise might actually improve your back pain? Experts recommend that pregnant women participate in some type of exercise regimen from the very beginning.
Studies have shown that exercise early in the pregnancy serves to reduce back pain later on. It also provides an array of benefits including:
- Reduced intensity of back pain
- Reduced anxiety
- Reduced amount of sick leave necessary
- Reduced postpartum back pain
You probably want to take your exercise routine slowly unless you were extremely fit before pregnancy.
The gentle stretches found in yoga are great options to help you stretch and strengthen the muscles in your pelvic region and lower back.
Look for specific workouts catered toward prenatal yoga. Even taking a gentle walk has plenty of benefits for expectant mothers.
If you need a little help finding an exercise class, here are the top five free pregnancy workouts you can access from the comfort of your own home.
Add Some Support
Support belts are another natural option to help reduce your lower back pain.
During pregnancy, your pelvic muscles must stretch to accommodate the growth of the baby.
This flexibility in the pelvic region can also destabilize the spine, resulting in your lower back pain.
A pelvic girdle belt can help to press together the joints in this area and reduce your pain.
Sit Up Straight
When is the last time you paid attention to your posture?
The modern world often encourages us to slouch at our desks.
We spend hours craning our necks down to stare at our smartphones.
All of these simple things can add up to contribute to your overall back pain.
Make sure that you practice standing up straight. This may be easier for you in the early months of your pregnancy and become more difficult into the third trimester.
Keeping your pelvic region tucked in and rolling your shoulders back can help you to find the proper form while standing. You also want to ensure that you are wearing comfortable shoes that offer the support you need to remain balanced.
You could also consider getting some insoles – Wiiv offers ones that are custom built just for you.
If you spend a lot of time in a seated position, it is still important that you maintain good posture.
Your feet should be flat on the floor or slightly elevated with a footstool.
Keep your shoulders rolled back against the back of your chair. For more serious low back pain, place a rolled up blanket or small pillow behind your lower back.
Chiropractor Juneau recommends that every pregnant woman who experiences back pain should see an experienced chiropractor. Research points to chiropractic care as a significant factor that can reduce your lower back pain.
A recent case study proved that spinal manipulation, exercise, and soft-tissue therapy were able to significantly lower pain.
Spinal manipulation is a natural way to help adjust the muscular and skeletal system.
It is relatively common for these areas to need a little help falling into place during pregnancy.
A review on the current literature surrounding chiropractic care and pregnancy lists this treatment as both safe and effective.
Change Your Sleeping Position
The way you sleep can make a significant difference in your low-back pain. Experts recommend sleeping on your side with the knees bent.
This is more effective at eliminating pain than sleeping flat on your back. You may also want to place a pillow between your knees or underneath your belly to offer additional support.
Keep in mind that a firm mattress will offer you more support.
You can learn more about sleep during pregnancy here.
Avoid Heavy Lifting
Lifting heavy objects without the proper form can do serious damage to your back muscles. A
void heavy lifting during pregnancy at all costs. You should know your own limits and respect them during this time.
If you must lift something small, make sure that you do it properly to avoid straining your back. Here are a few tips to help you lift safely:
- Avoid lifting objects with your back muscles.
- Do not bend forward to reach the object.
- Squat down to pick up the object.
- Keep feet hip-width apart.
- Lift with your leg muscles.
- Hold the object close to your body.
A prenatal massage could be great complementary therapy for your low back pain. Experienced masseuses can knead your back muscles and loosen them up to offer temporary relief.
When combined with heating pads or followed by a warm bath, back pain can stay at bay for a little while.
Some back pain is also caused by stress and the tension it creates in the body. A good massage can loosen the muscles as well as provide relaxation.
Even if you can’t afford a professional massage therapist, you can still enlist the help of a friend or family member.
You could also combine your massage therapy with pregnancy safe essential oils and aromatherapy for the ultimate in relaxation.
Handling Your Low-Back Pain
Back pain during pregnancy is a common occurrence that leaves women wondering how they will go about their day.
It can severely limit your mobility and make you even more uncomfortable. Learning how to handle your low-back pain during pregnancy can be a challenge.
Fortunately, there are plenty of natural remedies and alternative therapies available to help.
By following some of these preventative tips, you may be able to reduce the amount of pain you experience.
Dr. Brent Wells is the founder of Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab. Originally from California, he holds a doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College in Oregon. He has worked as a chiropractor for over 20 years and is a member of the American Chiropractic Association.
Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is currently training to be a Certified Lactation Educator. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.