Back Pain During Pregnancy
Weight gain is one common reason why women suffer from back pain during pregnancy. Sudden weight gain puts pressure on the spine to support the added weight. As the baby grows, its weight also presses nerves and blood vessels in the expectant mother's pelvis and back. As the mother gains weight, sometimes her posture changes to accommodate her weight gain, which may also strain back muscles. In addition to this, several hormonal and muscle changes also cause back pain. While pregnant, a woman's body produces the hormone relaxin, which causes ligaments around the pelvis to relax and loosen during childbirth. Relaxin also causes spinal ligaments to loosen, which can cause pain. As the growing uterus expands, two muscular areas in the rectal abdominis separate, and this can also result in back pain.
Back Pain During Pregnancy First Trimester
Back pain is common throughout a pregnancy, especially as the expectant mother gains weight. However, some women experience back pain as early as the first trimester. Miscarriages also occur most frequently during the first trimester. Severe back pain, along with other symptoms like vaginal bleeding, painful urination, fever and cramping, can be a sign of miscarriage. A woman who experiences these symptoms should see a doctor. The first trimester is also a time during which women should begin taking certain precautionary measures to prevent and alleviate back pain. When a pregnant woman needs to pick something up from the ground, she should squat instead of leaning over. Squatting allows the woman to use her leg muscles without straining her back. Women should not lift heavy objects while pregnant. They should stand up straight, but avoid standing for long periods of time, as this can cause leg and back pain. Wearing high-heeled shoes can also be painful. High heels force a woman to arch her back, and the heels also pull certain back and leg muscles out of alignment. Instead, pregnant women should opt for low-heeled shoes with adequate arch support. When sitting down, expectant mothers should choose a chair with good back support. Put a pillow behind the lower back to alleviate strain on the back while sitting. Beginning in the first trimester, a pregnant woman should sleep on her side with a pillow between her knees to relieve strain on her back. Sleeping on the back can cause back pain or further aggravate existing pain. Establishing these helpful habits in the first trimester can help pregnant women avoid some of the back pain women experience during the first trimester as well as the remainder of the pregnancy. Consult a physician or other healthcare provider for more advice on avoiding back pain during each pregnancy trimester.
Back Pain During Pregnancy Treatment
Women who did not have back pain before their pregnancy began will likely see their back pain diminish once the child is born. However, during pregnancy there are several things expectant mothers can do to prevent or relieve pain. Exercising regularly can improve flexibility and strengthen back muscles. Swimming, walking and riding a stationary bike are generally safe exercises for pregnant women. For more advice on physical fitness while pregnant, consult a fitness expert or physician. Specialists can recommend stretches and exercises to relieve back pain. In addition to exercise, healthcare providers might recommend pain relievers and muscle relaxants for pregnant women. While acetaminophen is generally safe to take during pregnancy, most doctors do not advise women to take ibuprofen or naproxen. Always consult with a healthcare professional before taking these or any other drugs during pregnancy. The Cozy Bump Pregnancy Pillow is an inflatable mattress that can also relieve back pain during pregnancy. The Cozy Bump Pregnancy Pillow allows women to rest comfortably on their stomachs while pregnant. This pregnancy pillow is especially helpful since women often have trouble finding a comfortable resting position, and lying on the stomach feels increasingly uncomfortable the larger a woman gets. Sleeping on the back might cause back pain, and sleeping on the side is sometimes uncomfortable, too. However, the Cozy Bump mattress has a ring designed for the pregnancy bump to rest while the expectant mother sleeps or lounges on her stomach. The Cozy Bump Pregnancy Pillow even has a valve that allows the user to increase or decrease the amount of air in the mattress, which adjusts the ring to fit baby bumps of various sizes. The mattress has a leg section that angles downward, which relieves strain on the back. The Cozy Bump Pregnancy Pillow also features a headrest that can be used with or without a regular pillow, which adds even more comfort. According to Dr. Vincent Amato, a specialist in chiropractic medicine, the Cozy Bump Pregnancy Pillow decompresses the spine, which helps alleviate back pain. The following tips might also relieve back pain, but consult a physician before doing the following:
- Using a hot or cold compress on the back
- Taking acupuncture therapy
- Visiting a chiropractor
- Wearing a support belt
Back Pain During Pregnancy When to Worry
Mild back pain on its own is generally not cause for concern. However, severe back pain or pain that lasts longer than two weeks should not be ignored. Women should see a doctor if they have severe or prolonged pain. Both rhythmic pain and severe back pain are sometimes symptoms of preterm labor, so consulting a doctor is important if a woman experiences rhythmic pain. Severe back pain could also mean osteoarthritis or osteoporosis. Thus, one way to increase the chances of having a healthy child is to have regular health check-ups during pregnancy. A doctor can give advice about any special treatments or therapies required for each woman's case.
Women who experience the following symptoms should see a doctor immediately:
- Pain that begins abruptly or becomes increasingly worse
- Burning, painful urination or difficulty urinating
- Rhythmic cramping
- Severe abdominal pain