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Back Pain During Pregnancy

Pregnant women stretching in water during Aqua Mummies class

Oh, my back constantly aches! How many times have you said this? Or better, how many times per day do you say this? Yes, unfortunately back pain is one of the most common complaints among pregnant women. It may start in early pregnancy and often continuing up until the end. But the good thing is that there are multiple ways of minimizing back pain.

During pregnancy, the ligaments in your body naturally become softer and stretch, in preparation for labour. This is a normal, process which results due to changes in the hormone levels, during pregnancy. But as the pregnancy advances, the baby grows faster, the breasts become fuller and heavier, and the ligaments become softer and softer, there is an increasing strain on the joints of your lower back and pelvis, which can cause back pain.

Hence, here are some tips which you can follow to help minimize back pain:

Tip 1: Check your Posture!

This is the most important tip of all! Good posture is when your body aligns properly while sitting, standing, or lying down. As the baby grows, and the uterus gets heavier you will naturally find yourself slouching. So you should try get into the habit of  constantly ensuring that you are standing and sitting up straight.

Here are some tips you should keep in mind:

Sitting:

Select a hard, straight-backed chair to sit on. Use a small, soft pillow or a small rolled-up towel, placed behind the lower back (at the curve of the back) for additional support.  While sitting, your back should be straight and your shoulders pulled back and rolled down. The buttocks should touch the chair’s back. Place both your feet evenly on the floor. Avoid sitting with your legs hanging, or cross-legged as this slows down your circulation to your legs and feet, leading to varicose veins and swelling at the ankles. Make sure that your pelvis, spine and head are aligned.

It is recommended not to sit for very long periods of time. If you have an office job, make sure that you get up to move every hour.When relaxing in the evening, avoid sitting on the sofa, most especially during the third trimester. Try using a birthing ball instead – it helps you be more mindful of your sitting posture, and also helps with the baby’s position in uterus – which is crucial for labour.

Standing and Walking:

Maintaining a proper standing posture is as crucial! Hold you head up straight, keep the chest lifted and shoulder blades pulled back. Try keeping your buttocks tucked in, and stomach muscles pulled in. Your feet should be positioned in the same direction, and your weight should be evenly balanced on both feet. Choose comfortable and supportive shoes. It is recommended not to stand for a long duration of time. If you have a standing job, make sure so sit down at regular intervals.

Daily activities..

When going shopping, try to equally balance the weight between two bags.

When bending to lift or pick up something from the floor, make sure you bend your knees and keep your back straight.

Avoid lifting heavy objects! If you have other children, try teaching them that they are getting bigger and heavier, and they can now walk by themselves, and mummy can not lift them so much any more!

Tip 2: Stretch it out!

Make sure you stretch on a daily basis! Stretching makes you more flexible, keeps your muscles loose, and helps to eases back aches and pains! It helps you relieve the extra pressure on your back, and to promotes re-aligning! Check out our ‘Stretch it out’ blog post for a simple and effective stretching routine!

Tip 3: Exercise Regularly!

Gentle exercises, with a qualified and specialized pregnancy instructor, helps to strengthen stomach (abdominal) muscles, which can ease back pain in pregnancy. Attending Aquanatal classes (pregnancy specific exercise classes in warm water) helps you build your muscles to better support your back. Our instructors provide individual attention and are able to provide advice and recommendations according to your needs. The warm water helps sooth your back and eases aches and pains whilst the water buoyancy helps you feel as light as a feather!

If aquanatal classes are not an option for you (such as during corona times), try prenatal yoga or prenatal pilates. Make sure that the instructor is qualified, and that the exercises you are following are safe for you, especially if you have specific needs. Do not hesitate to contact us if you need any helps or tips about whether a particular exercise routine is safe for you, or if you would like some extra tips and advice!

Tip 4: Seek help!

Last but not least, if your backache is very painful, speak to a midwife or your obstetrician. You might need to be referred to hospital or a specialized physiotherapist or orthopedic doctor.

Severe back pain may also be a sign of labour, if you are in your second or third trimester. If in doubt, call the central delivery suite at Mater Dei Hospital on 25455170, a midwife will assist you straight away! If you also have a fever, bleeding from your vagina or pain when you pee, you also need to speak to a healthcare professional straight away, as you might be suffering from a Urinary Tract Infection. In case of loss of sensation in one or both of your legs, your bum, or your genitals or if you have pain in one or more of your sides (under your ribs) you also need to contact a healthcare professional straight away.

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