Eighty percent of women will experience back pain at some point during pregnancy. The severity of this pain during pregnancy ranges from mild discomfort after standing for long periods of time to debilitating pain that interferes with daily life. Although back pain during pregnancy can be a sign of a more serious condition, including labour, in most cases, it is the result of changes happening within the body. You’ve got lots of company! Most pregnant women experience back pain, usually starting in the second half of pregnancy.
Here are the main causes:
-Ligaments: Hormones released during pregnancy cause laxity to the pelvic and spinal ligaments, reducing their effectiveness in supporting your joints. This also puts more demands on your muscular system.
-Posture: Your babies increasing size makes it difficult to maintain good postural alignment in sitting and standing.
-Weight: Your babies increasing weight causes your centre of gravity to shift forward. As a result your lower back curve increases making these back muscles short and tight. To counteract the weight of your growing baby your back muscles have to work extra hard. Your tummy muscles also become stretched which makes them less able to counter the pull of tight back muscles.
-Breathing: Your growing baby means you don’t breathe as deeply into your tummy. This can result in weakness of your core muscles.
What can I do?
-Stay relaxed. Focus on avoiding positions or movements than cause you pain.
-Stay active. Try to maintain gentle aerobic activity such as walking or swimming.
-Breathe. Focus on regularly breathing through your nose into your tummy area. Keep this slow and relaxed.
-Stretch. Gentle stretching of your lower back can often be helpful. Poses such as ‘child’s pose’ in yoga can often help.
If your discomfort still persists, seek the advice of a physiotherapist who can accurately assess your condition.