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Techniques for Battling Low Back Pain in Pregnancy

– Posted in: General Pregnancy Topics
Back Pain in Pregnancy

Like it or not, pregnancy has many bedfellows. Back pain is just one of them, but it can be quite persistent. As many as 3 in 4 women experience low back pain during pregnancy. Some recent research even suggests that severe back pain during the third trimester is also associated with poorer birth outcomes, such as a greater risk of Cesarean section. To minimize your low back pain during pregnancy, just follow some of these simple tips.

Prevent Low Back Pain During Pregnancy

Knowing that low back pain is common can be enough information to give you a fair chance at avoiding it altogether. I knew to expect it but didn’t take prevention seriously enough, so learn from me! Put a stop to it before it starts. After all, a strong back can be a great help during labor.

  • Exercise. Yoga, stretching, strength training, and targeted lower back exercises for pregnant women can be incredibly helpful. You can strengthen your muscles to prepare for the shifting position of the baby and the increasing weight you’ll have to balance in the front.
  • Stay stress-free. Anxiety, stress, and even grudges can result in physically-held tension that can aggravate your lower back muscles. Meditation and regular stress relief can help keep your body in good shape as well as your mind.
  • Practice good posture. It’s easy to start slouching with the extra weight and common discomforts from pregnancy. By keeping your posture in line, you can keep your muscles strong during the gradual changes of pregnancy.
  • Get your fish oil. Anti-inflammatory agents, like omega 3 fatty acids, are found in fish and some vegetable oils. Because many women cut back on fish during pregnancy, it may be simple to purchase prenatal gummy vitamins with fish oil supplement. Anti-inflammatory substances from the diet and prenatal vitamins can help calm some aggravation in back muscles that leads to pain.

Relieve Existing Back Pain

For those of you already in the thick of it, back pain can make an otherwise pleasant pregnancy miserable. With the go-ahead of your doctor or midwife, try some of these pain relief techniques to kiss your pregnancy-related back pain goodbye.

  • Exercise. Again, yoga, stretching, strength training, and targeted exercises can not only prevent back pain, but also help relieve existing pain. Start gently and work your way into a daily routine. Stretch frequently while at home and at work, as well. Your back should feel some almost immediate relief, and with time and dedication, your general pain level should lessen significantly.
  • Get a massage. Back rubs can be very soothing for stressed, pained muscles. Have your partner give a massage for even a few minutes every evening, or treat yourself to a weekly half-hour massage session with a pro!
  • Consider acupuncture or aromatherapy. Some pregnant women respond well to alternative therapies for back pain—especially when exercise and massage do not help. In some cases, chiropractors may be able to help, too. Just make sure that any practitioner you visit is familiar with the special needs of pregnant women.
  • Treat it with temperature. Use a heating pad or alternate hot and cold packs on your lower back when pain gets bad. Take a warm bath or shower to relieve inflammation and pain.
  • Try acetaminophen. It is considered a gentle and safe pain relief medication to use during pregnancy, and it may help for some particularly painful time periods.
  • Sleep well. In addition to keeping your posture in line during the day, get plenty of rest at night and use extra pillows for back support. Try sleeping on your left side with a pillow behind your back and between your knees. Later during pregnancy, a soft pillow wedged under your belly may also take some of the strain off of your back while you rest.

If your back pain makes it hard to sleep, walk comfortably, or concentrate on regular activities, talk to a health professional. There may be a systemic medical condition causing unusual back pain that can be relieved with treatment. In addition, some types of low back pain may be indicative of labor or other pregnancy problems. Don’t delay if your pain worries you—get professional advice!

5 Comments… add one

October 4, 2013, 6:50 am Jeet Chowhan

It’s believed that the vitamin, found in broccoli, spinach, and other dark leafy greens, helps calcium deposit in the bones, making them denser. The stronger your bones, the stronger your whole body and the lower your chances of an injury that could cause back pain.Having strong core muscles (we’re talking abs here) can help protect your back from injury. Do this core-strengthening pelvic tilt 2 to 3 times per week:Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and lower back flattened. Pull in your belly button toward your spine, contracting your abs; your pelvis should lift slightly off the floor.

June 18, 2013, 11:03 pm Chelsea

Great tips! I found a lot of stretching helped me. Certain yoga poses seem impossible with a pregnant belly, but there are always modifications.

June 12, 2013, 9:30 pm Kim

Swimming is also a big help! Feels awesome to feel “weightless” for awhile and take that pressure off of hips and back.

My favorite back yoga stretches right now: cat/cow, child’s pose (feels awesome if you have a friend or partner who can apply some pressure to your lower back/hips while you do it), and thread the needle (for upper back).

June 13, 2013, 12:28 am Katie

Good suggestions! For some reason, thread the needle is uncomfortable for me, but the other two are a nice treat! Child’s pose is excellent once I move my legs out of the way for my belly hah. I also like a move that I don’t remember the name of, but it’s essentially just standing with feet shoulder-width apart, hands straight up overhead, and leaning slightly back with my upper body. It stretches out my abs very well and I think helps me realign my back muscles a bit!

June 13, 2013, 4:28 pm Kim

My child’s pose has definitely gone through a number of alterations over the weeks! Legs keep getting wider and wider to make room–guess that’s probably a good thing :D