Dealing with a Backache During Pregnancy
More than 50 percent of moms-to-be complain of back pain in the last half of pregnancy. Back muscles get a triple whammy during pregnancy: your ligaments, which are relaxing to allow for easier passage of the baby through the pelvis, are looser all over, putting more strain on your muscles, especially those supporting your spine; your overstretched abdominal muscles force you to rely more on your back to support your weight; and the change in your posture and the curvature of your spine as you compensate for your front-heavy body creates still more work for the back muscles. In the third trimester especially, these overworked muscles and back ligaments will make a backache during pregnancy something you will likely experience.
6 Simple Strategies to Prevent Backache
- Perform simple low-impact aerobic exercises such as swimming and biking to strengthen abdominal and lower back muscles.
- Wear sensible shoes. Both high heels and totally flat shoes can cause a backache during pregnancy by straining the back muscles. Try shoes with wide, medium-height heels (no higher than two inches) for dress, and walking shoes for casual wear.
- Avoid jogging on hard surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt, which can be jarring to the spine. Instead of jogging try fast walking, and on natural surfaces like grass, earth or sand, which are easier on the muscles and joints than pounding a hard surface.
- Don’t twist your spine. When you stand or sleep be sure your shoulders and hips are aligned. Avoid awkward reaches, such as getting a heavy box down from the top of a closet or lifting a sleeping toddler from a car seat. If you must undertake activities that call for awkward lifting, see if you can rethink the job. Consider unbuckling a toddler’s car seat, for example, and turning the seat toward you before you lift your child out and prevent a possible backache during pregnancy.
- Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time. When you do sit, use a footstool to raise your knees a bit higher than your hips and take pressure off your lower back. If you must stand in one position for a while, put one foot forward and place most of your weight on it for a few minutes, then switch your weight to the other foot. Better yet, prop the forward foot up on a stool, telephone book, drawer, or cabinet ledge.
- Sleep on your side and frequently shift sleeping positions.
4 Safe Ways to Treat Backache
- Rest. Usually, simply resting strained muscles will ease a backache during pregnancy.
- Soak in warm water. Try soaking in warm water or standing in the shower with a jet of warm water focused on the painful area.
- Pack the back. Many mothers swear by a hot or cold pack (or alternating both) on the painful area. If baby pressing against your spine seems to be the cause of pain, as is common during the final month, try the knee-chest position for a while.
- Massage it. Ask your mate to give you a back massage to relieve your backache during pregnancy. Practice these back massages now so he can later become a useful masseur to help ease the back pain of labor.