Between 50% to 80% of expectant mothers experience backache or back pain at some point during their pregnancies. These women usually start experiencing pain by the 36th week of pregnancy which can last to up to three months after delivery. The level of pain can range from mild back ache or pelvic ache which is uncomfortable to debilitating pain which interferes with daily life. A number of factors are the cause of this back pain such as an increase in weight, changes in the hormone levels and a change in the center of gravity which puts added strain on the spine. Here are some exercises and precautions which you can take to relieve back pain during pregnancy:
Maintain Good Posture – Chang in posture is one of the main causes of back pain in expectant women. As your uterus becomes heavier, your center of gravity changes. Therefore, it is important that you adjust your posture and the way you move to put less stress on your back.
Minimize Physical Activities – Certain physical activities put added stress on the lower back and pelvis such as climbing stairs, standing on one leg, walking long distances or standing for extended periods of time. Keep them to a minimum.
Exercise Regularly – Regular exercise helps strengthen your back muscles. Talk with your doctor about some simple exercises which are appropriate for you. Here are two exercises to get you started:
- Exercise # 1 – Get on your hands and knees on the floor as if you are going to scrub the floor, aligning the wrists and elbows under the shoulders and your knees under your hips. Arch your back upwards in a convex C-shape. Hold it there for a couple of seconds before relaxing and repeat as needed.
- Exercise # 2 – Lie on your back with your knees bent. Slowly lift your head and torso six inches from the ground and hold for a few seconds to perform mini-sit-ups. Repeat 5 to 10 times as needed.
You can talk with your doctor about other exercises you can do to help with your back pain. Exercises and stretches that are done while sitting upright are also beneficial. Remember not to over strain yourself as it can lead to more pain.
Eat a Healthy Diet – Eating a healthy diet is also very important during pregnancy. It may not be directly related to your back pain problem, but it definitely affects a number of other factors such as constipation. It is also important that you avoid alcohol intake during pregnancy as it not only affects the developing fetus, but it can also get you in trouble for DUI or drunk driving if you decide to drive after drinking.
Wear Proper Shoes – Low-heeled shoes are great for good-arch support. Flat shoes are also more appropriate for day-to-day activities. If you have to go to a party and wear heels, keep a pair of low-heeled shoes in your bag so you can change them later.
Avoid Emotional Stress – Increased emotional stress can also cause muscle tension in the back, leading to increased back pain. Some women experience back spasms instead of back pain during stressful periods of their pregnancy.
Apart from these tips, you can also use proper gear, such as wearing a maternity support belt for additional support. It is also important that you avoid lifting heavy objects and if you do have to lift anything, you lift properly. Some women also find it beneficial to sleep on their side with a pillow between their knees instead of sleeping on their back.