Hello everyone, my name is Bryanne and I’m a new contributor here. After reading, let me know how I did in the comments below. Also, let me know what else you would like me to write about. 🙂
Through the process of bringing three children into the world, back pain was no stranger to me. Luckily, I was stubborn and sprite and managed to push through it most of the time, but there were definitely days that were incredibly difficult. No one wants to deal with back pain, for any length of time, but most women experience back pain at this time. That’s why I wanted to write this article about how to relieve back pain during pregnancy.
The American Pregnancy Association says that between 50 to 70 percent of women will experience back pain at any stage.
It’s important to know why you may have back pain during pregnancy before setting about to try to remedy it. This is best determined by your physician. Note that I am not a medical professional and this article is for informational purposes only. Please seek medical help to determine the right treatment for you!
What is Happening to my Body?
When pregnant, the body begins to go through dozens of micro changes that can cause doubt and confusion in the most confident of women.
Back pain can become one of those nagging things that can affect your body as well as your mind — both from lack of sleep and distractedly trying to find the cause. These aches and pains can be caused by a shift in the center of gravity or weight gain or even the hips shifting to accommodate the baby in childbirth.
Pain can also depend on how the baby is situated inside your body. If you’re carrying more in your back, not only can you experience pain, but numbness in the feet, referred pain in the feet and hips, and along the spine.
Stress can even be a significant factor for back pain and fretting over it can make it worse. While isolating the cause of the pain may not be necessary for finding relief, it can help in knowing what areas to target. Finding relief can be elusive, but don’t give up trying to find it.
Reach Out to Your Doctor
If you’re of the nervous sort, reach out to your OB/GYN. While most of us are relatively lucky, sometimes, back pain can be a sign of something like a kidney infection, or even early signs of labor later on in the pregnancy.
Or, if you’re just of the nervous sort, like me, still reach out. Pregnancy can set off the part of your brain that panics and tells you to be aware of every slight change. Your doctor is there to help walk you through the experience and to make sure that everything is alright with both you and your baby.
Your doctor should have no problems answering any questions and guiding you through what is best for both of you. This can help to alleviate a little stress that you may be feeling.
Invest in the Proper Gear
When pregnant, try to stick with low heeled or flats that have good arch support. I never had worse pain than the pregnancy I was pregnant in the summer, living in flip-flops and horrible sandals that had no real support.
While I was lucky and had little swelling then, I did experience a great deal of referred pain in my lower back. Make the investment and buy a pair of good insoles that can be moved to nearly any style of shoe. They’ll also be useful following the pregnancy.
For sleeping, a maternity pillow is optional but highly recommended. These giant contraptions run between $30 and $70 but are miracles stitched together. The pillows help increase blood flow through the body and to help relieve the pressure of the baby on your hips, kidneys, and nerve endings at the base of your spine.
Sleeping on your left side can also decrease blood pressure, but just slightly.
Sleeping on my stomach before my pregnancies, it was an adjustment to get comfortable to sleep on my side rather quickly. The pillows wrap around the body and can be shifted to accommodate your belly, back, legs, knees, everything. I still have mine and use it nightly, so it’s worth the investment on this one.
There’s also the option of getting a support belt. It’s used to help disperse the weight of the belly more evenly across the body and back. I personally have not tried one, and there has been no real research stating that it will help to eliminate the pain, but many women swear by it. While it is an extra expense, it’s worth the try if you aren’t having luck with anything else.
Try Some Light Exercise
If you aren’t one to exercise, your doctor may recommend that you start taking walks or adding light exercise to your daily routine. While it was easy for my first pregnancy to try a little yoga and take a walk a few times a week, it was a lot more difficult when you also have to herd a toddler or two with you, but doing a few light yogic exercises is amazing.
My little ones thought it was fun when I put a small towel for each of them on either side of my own yoga mat and were occupied for at least a solid 20 minutes until they pulled me away.
Don’t worry, no money involved here: check out one of my favorite YouTube yogis, Adriene on her channel Yoga With Adriene. Here’s a video specifically for pregnancy, but keep a note on which trimester that each move can be used.
Use Hot or Cold to Help Relax Muscles
Temperature therapy has been used for all different kinds of pain and can work here. Heat will help to ease muscles into relaxing and will help reduce the pain. Cold will help to numb the area slightly and is generally used in conjunction with other relaxation methods, like a massage.
You can grab a small electric heating pad and an ice pack at the closest pharmacy, or if you’re of the crafty sort, you can make your own, by filling a sock with rice and tying it off.
Heat it up in the microwave in 30-second intervals or put it in the freezer for a cold compress. The rice-sock won’t work entirely as well as their counterparts but is so inexpensive that it’s worth a try.
Go to a Professional
This isn’t something most people will be able to do frequently, but it’s definitely worth going to see a massage therapist if you’re having extended periods of pain.
For each of my pregnancies, I saved up for a prenatal massage around the 7-month mark. While prenatal massages are more expensive than regular massages as it takes far more training to be able to perform them, it will help to get deep within the muscles and bust away the tension in the muscles.
If the spine is giving you trouble, you can also reach out to a chiropractor. Talk to your doctor before you make those appointments, though.
You Got This!
Nothing can really prepare you for the constant changes and experiences of having your baby, especially the not-so-great parts that everyone seems to keep hidden.
Back pain can be one of them, but it doesn’t have to be something that will overshadow all the joy that comes along with it. Know that there are resources out there to help you and things you can do to help yourself.
But remember, follow your instincts and before you do anything, check with your doctor to make sure that it’s safe for you and your child.
Please tell me about your experiences below. I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to use the sharing buttons (bottom of page) to help your friends.