During pregnancy, the tummy will grow and expand beyond belief. Not only may you not understand how your belly stretches so large, but you will inevitably have to deal with the back pain associated with carrying such a large front load on the body. Dealing with back pain during pregnancy is all about rest, relaxation and the right support.
There are several common pains felt during pregnancy, and backache is the one that nearly every pregnant woman complains about. Backaches can consist of sharp pains, dull pains and general achiness in the lower back area.
Causes of Backache
The majority of backaches during pregnancy are caused by the extra weight of the fetus pressing on the lower back. As your baby grows larger, the weight on the front of the body is often too much for the lower back muscles to handle. While these backaches during pregnancy are common, they should not be ignored. Lower back pain during pregnancy can also be a sign of labor.
Pregnancy backache is often caused by the weight of the baby. As the tummy grows, the abdomen gets larger and heavier. The spine tends to curve forward with the weight the increasing weight of the baby, and this can cause backache. In addition, relaxin is released into the body to promote ligament relaxation to ensure the tummy can grow as large as it needs. This hormone can also cause pains in the lower back as back ligaments are relaxed and stretched forward.
Important Facts About Backache During Pregnancy
While lower back pain and achiness is common, sharp pains in the lower back can also be associated with labor. If backache pains are accompanied by sharp pains in the abdomen, spotting or discharge, it is important to contact your obstetrician immediately.
Treatments for Backache During Pregnancy
Fatigue can often increase backache pain during pregnancy. As the female body becomes more stressed, slumping shoulders and “giving in” to the curve of the spine is common. Women often feel relief from their backache if they maintain good posture and stance while standing, walking, and sitting. In order to correct your posture, you can simply stand tall and pull your shoulders back. This will elongate the spine and reduce any curve in the spine.
Other important treatments for pregnancy backache include resting with your feet propped up, taking frequent breaks when standing is necessary, and wearing shoes with lower heels or no heels at all. After the first trimester, a pregnancy massage can also bring relief from lower backache. Pregnancy massage, however, should only be performed by a professional masseuse trained in proper techniques.
Preventing Backaches During Pregnancy
There are several ways to preventing the worst of the backaches during pregnancy. All of these remedies are associated with removing the additional burden from the lower back. The most common treatments prescribed are belly straps, propping up the legs and total body rest.
Propping up the legs is one of the most effective ways to stop backaches during pregnancy. This is due to the total alleviation of the extra weight on the lower back. Propping up the legs for 15 minutes once an hour can help prevent backaches as well as varicose veins.
Total Body Rest
Total body rest is essential to the health of both mom and baby. Taking frequent naps during the day is a great way to renew the body's resources and relieve back pain. As the pregnancy progresses, you should try to lie on your right side to prevent additional pressure on the liver and increase circulation in the body.
When Back Pain Signals Labor
As the final weeks of the pregnancy approach, you need to be in tune with the backaches you have been experiencing since lower back pain can also be one of the main signs of impending labor. These backaches during pregnancy often present with other symptoms such as cramping and a feeling of pressure in the vagina.
Does resting help back pain?
Along with the huge amount of internal body changes, pregnancy gives mom a new physique. The growing belly will place an unbalanced amount of weight on the lower back and this will often cause back pain, which can range from mild to severe. During the second and third trimesters of the pregnancy, there is no doubt you will need to get off your feet a little more and rest your back from time to time in order to stave off any back pain caused by your growing belly. Howevcer, you also should know that exercise has been found to help with back pain.
Do I need a pregnancy belt?
Let us start by saying that a pregnancy belt has never shown to be 100% effective. In fact, a review of scientific research has shown that exercise is the best way to prevent and decrease pregnancy back pain.
Belly straps are used during pregnancy to redistribute the weight of the fetus (which is usually concentrated on the front of the body) onto a larger muscle area of the body. If the back muscles are not strong enough to handle the extra weight, they bow under the pressure and this causes the strain felt in the lower back or the backaches during pregnancy. The belly strap laces around the back of the body and under the growing tummy. This strap lifts the weight of the belly and evenly distributes it to places other than the lower back.
Because pregnancy is often painful there are hundreds of strange accessories designed to help alleviate some of the discomfort. It can be difficult to decide which accessories are necessary and which are a waste of money. More importantly, you should always make sure any accessory you try won’t harm your baby. Pregnancy belts are one such type of accessory. There are many brands you could try, but all of them are designed for the same reason. When you’re pregnant, the weight of your belly will put a heavy strain on your back muscles. With a pregnancy belt, the weight of your baby will be supported so that some of the strain will be taken off of your back. However, using it improperly could harm you and your baby.
First of all, you need to make sure you use a pregnancy belt as infrequently as possible. Using it too often could weaken the muscles in your back further so that your time without it will be even more painful than before you got the belt. Experts recommend that you only use it for a few hours per day or less. Instead of relying on the belt to alleviate back pain, you should actually try working out to strengthen the muscles in your back. The added strength will take some of the pressure off.
Second, a pregnancy belt that is too tight could actually harm your baby and interrupt his development. Wearing something that puts pressure directly on your belly during gestation will cause the womb to become misshapen. If the pressure is there for too long, your baby will not have room to grow normally, and the body’s natural development will be directly affected.
As long as you wear the pregnancy belt minimally and adjust it carefully according to the directions, it is perfectly safe. The belt is especially good for women who have to spend more time on their feet than they’d like to because of their occupation or lifestyle. Lying down is the only other suitable solution to pregnancy back pain, but sometimes it simply isn’t an option. A pregnancy belt will come in handy in those situations. If you’re not sure how tight to wear your pregnancy belt or where on your body it should rest, don’t make any guesses. Ask your doctor specifically to find out how to safely use it without compromising your baby’s normal development.
How can I support my lower back?
Wearing loose fitting clothing and supportive comfortable shoes during pregnancy can also help to relieve back pain. Remember that the feet will often swell during pregnancy and a pair of shoes that fit before the baby may not fit during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.
In addition, a new product on the pregnancy market laces under the belly and provides weight support for the fetus in order to distribute the weight on the entire body as opposed to just the lower back. Check out maternity stores for various similar products to relieve back pain.
How can I distinguish labor from normal lower back pain?
As the pregnancy progresses into the third trimester, take careful notice of the types of back pain you experience. Back pain is one of the symptoms of labor and could mean the baby is ready to leave the womb and come out into the world. If back pain changes or lasts for longer than normal, seeking your doctor’s advice.
The signs of labor often appearing at the same time as the lower back pain may include abdominal cramping, spotting, breaking of the fetal membranes and an urge to push with the back pain. If the back pain appears alone but comes and goes from sharp to dull this may also be a sign of impending birth.
Quiz: Am I In Labor?
Tips For Back Pain During Pregnancy