Back pain is the worst. But back pain during pregnancy may be even more frustrating – it doesn’t go away when you’re sitting or standing. And most pregnant women experience it at some point.
What Causes Back Pain During Pregnancy?
It’s a common ailment among moms-to-be, with a few likely causes.
- First, the weight of the growing baby and uterus puts extra pressure on the spine, as well as blood vessels and nerves in the pelvis and back. This can lead to back pain.
- Your center of gravity also shifts as the baby grows. The body will naturally compensate by tilting the pelvis and changing your posture, resulting in pain.
- The hormone relaxin, which flows throughout the body during pregnancy to relax the joints and prepare the body for birth, can also cause ligaments that support the spine to loosen.
How Can I Fix Pregnancy Back Pain?
Fortunately, you can do things to help treat and lessen back pain while you’re pregnant.
Check Your Posture
Pregnancy wreaks havoc on our posture. It also weakens our core and glutes. To compensate, we typically end up in one of two postures. We either tuck or “grip” our butts (called a posterior pelvic tilt) or arch the low back (called an anterior pelvic tilt). This puts a lot of pressure on the spine. Work to find a neutral spine and good posture.
Stagger Your Stance – Tripod It!
The more points of contact you have with the earth, the better. So, when you need to lean over or lift something, literally be a tripod. Stagger your stance to widen your base, place your free hand on your thigh, and use this tripod position as you lower down. Exhale as you stand to protect your pelvic floor.
Try a Support Belt
Support belts can provide relief from pregnancy back pain because they help support the weight of the baby. Specifically, the Serola Scroiliac Belt was designed to fit snugly around the hips to provide external ligament support, mimicking your body’s biomechanics.
Serola belts work differently than other lumbar support belts because they provide support around the hips, not the abdomen.
Strengthen your Deep Core
Strengthening your deep core muscles will help you to have a more comfortable pregnancy. SLAM Pregnancy was designed to help you get your core strong, which in turn keeps your back pain in check.
Find a Supportive Sleeping Position
Sleeping only gets trickier as pregnancy progresses. Use plenty of pillows to support you and the baby. Place a pillow between your knees while you sleep on your side. A pregnancy pillow can help support good sleeping posture.
Pelvic Floor Tightness
Additionally, studies show a tight, or hypertonic, pelvic floor can lead to lower back pain. If your pelvic floor muscles are overactive, they maintain tension even when they should relax. This leads to a host of issues including back pain, constipation, and more.
The good news is that you can work on releasing those tight muscles.
Stretches To Relieve Pregnancy Back Pain
It’s a good idea to incorporate stretching into your routine. Gentle stretching relieves and minimizes pain in the lower back. These exercises are safe to do while pregnant. (Please avoid twisting.)
1. Wide-Legged Child’s Pose
Kneel with legs spread wide, toes together, and relax your body forward toward the floor. Rest your forehead on the floor (or on your hands or a yoga block if they don’t reach). Shift your hips back to allow your low back to “open”. Take slow, deep breaths and imagine your tailbone spreading apart as you inhale.
2. Deep Squat
Set up a yoga block(s) or pillow(s) under you and take a wide stance. Relax and lower your bottom into a low, wide squat, keeping your chest upright. Let your tummy go! Inhale through your nose and feel your pelvic floor naturally release.
3. Butterfly Pose
Sit with legs folded in, feet toward the body and knees bent out as close to the ground as possible. Gently lean forward as far as you can, inhaling slowly through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. You should feel your back naturally start to release.
You can also do this exercise one side at a time. Stretch out a leg and gently reach toward your foot with the opposite arm.
4. Half Happy Baby
Lay on your back and pull one leg up, with your knee aiming toward your shoulder and foot flexed parallel to the ceiling. Grab your foot and pull it down to open your hip as you relax your back into the floor. Release and do the same with the opposite side.
5. Chair Stretch
Grab the back of a chair with both hands and take a step or two back. Gently bend forward so your top half is parallel to the floor, keeping legs straight. Hold for 20-30 seconds, inhaling through the nose and down into the body. You should feel a release in your lower back as you inhale and exhale.
When to Seek Help
As always, please consult a doctor, physical therapist, or other health care professional if pregnancy back pain worsens or impacts your daily life. Call your doctor if you need pain medication, as some are not safe or advised to be taken during pregnancy.