Back pain during pregnancy: tips for relief
Back pain during pregnancy is a common complaint and it’s no wonder. You’re gaining weight, your center of gravity changes, and your hormones are relaxing the ligaments in the joints of your pelvis. Often, however, you can prevent or ease back pain during pregnancy. Consider seven ways to give pregnancy back pain to the boot.
As your baby grows, your center of gravity shifts forward. To avoid falling forward, you might compensate by leaning back — which can strain the muscles in your lower back and contribute to back pain during pregnancy. Keep these principles of good posture in mind:
- Stand up straight and tall.
- Hold your chest high.
- Keep your shoulders back and relaxed.
- Don’t lock your knees.
- Get the right gear
Wear low-heeled — not flat — shoes with good arch support. Avoid high heels, which can further shift your balance forward and cause you to fall.
You might also consider wearing a maternity support belt. Although research on the effectiveness of maternity support belts is limited, some women find the additional support helpful.
- Lift properly
When lifting a small object, squat down and lift with your legs. Don’t bend at the waist or lift with your back.
- Sleep on your side
Sleep on your side, not your back. Keep one or both knees bent. Consider using pregnancy or support pillows between your bent knees, under your abdomen, and behind your back.
- Try heat, cold, or massage
While evidence to support their effectiveness is limited, massage or the application of a heating pad or ice pack to your back might help.
- Include physical activity in your daily routine
Regular physical activity can keep your back strong and might relieve back pain during pregnancy. With your health care provider’s OK, try gentle activities such as walking or water exercise. A physical therapist also can show you stretches and exercises that might help.
- Consider complementary therapies
Some research suggests that acupuncture might relieve back pain during pregnancy. Chiropractic treatment might provide comfort for some women as well. However, further research is needed. If you’re considering complementary therapy, discuss it with your health care provider. Be sure to tell the chiropractor or acupuncturist that you are pregnant.