What to do if you have lower back pain during pregnancy?

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Growing a new human in your belly can be tough on your back. Your body will naturally change to accommodate your baby as it gets bigger and your back will take on more strain.

50% to 80% of women report some kind of back pain during pregnancy. This usually occurs in the fifth and seventh month.

The good news is that the pain will not last long and can be mitigated. First, let’s look closer at why pregnancy will affect your back.

Common Causes of Lower Back Pain during Pregnancy

Weight Gain

During a healthy pregnancy, a woman can quickly gain between 35 to 45 pounds (10-15kg). Your spine and pelvis are unaccustomed to supporting the additional weight and this can cause lower back pain.

Change in Posture

Your posture and the supporting muscles will adjust themselves to accommodate the additional weight of the fetus. This increasingly puts more stress on your lower back and creates muscle strain over time.

Fatigue

During pregnancy, a woman may experience more muscle fatigue. This will lead to poor posture or make posture changes even worse.

Hormonal Changes

Hormones like relaxin and estrogen increase from the first trimester. They relax the ligaments and joints in the pelvis. They also loosen the ligaments in the spine and lead to decreased support for the back.

Muscle Separation

In the second or third trimester, the rectus abdominis muscles (the 6-pack) stretches and separates. This can drastically change the posture and cause pain in the lower back and pelvis.

How To Manage Lower Back Pain during Pregnancy

The most common recommendation for managing lower back pain during pregnancy is exercise.

Several medical studies have shown that fitness activities and physical therapy show positive outcomes for reducing back pain. But most kinds of physical effort will promote strength and support proper posture.

These are essential throughout the pregnancy to avoid stress to the spine and supporting muscles. We recommend:

  • Improving the posture with stretches for the lower back, buttocks, hips and legs
  • Strengthening the support muscles in the abdominal, hip and gluteus areas
  • Increasing cardiovascular strength to reduce fatigue with low-impact cardio
  • Boosting overall strength and mobility with Pilates and yoga

There are also other self-remedies for lower back pain during pregnancy that you can try:

  • Get back support and foot support while sitting
  • Avoid strenuous activities like prolonged sitting
  • Rest more often during the middle of the day
  • Apply heat or cold compresses or try massage therapy
  • Try acupuncture to stimulate blood flow

If you would like to find out more about how we have helped our pregnant clients to reduce and manage their lower back pain, please contact us.

Recommended read: Simple guide to learn everything about lower back pain.

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WIF-physiotherapist-pilates-instructor

Physiotherapist & Pilates Instructor

Jun Xian work with clients on pain management, regain and progress them to higher fitness level with combination of Physiotherapy and Pilates.

He love sharing his knowledge around topics of lower back pain, hip and knee problem.

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Lower your risk of injury trying higher intensity training, build foundation strength and strong core control. Our Physiotherapist & Pilates Instructor are ready to bring you from rehab to fitness, with aim to prevent you falling from fitness back to rehab.