Instead of sleeping on your back, try rolling onto your side. Maintain a bend in either or both of your knees. Think about placing pregnancy pillows or support pillows behind your back, under your abdomen, and between your bent knees.
Back pain during pregnancy is not unusual, but it should still be taken seriously when it occurs. Take a look at these seven strategies to alleviate back pain during pregnancy, ranging from maintaining proper posture and staying active to receiving complementary therapies.
Back pain is a common complaint among pregnant women, and it’s easy to see why. Back pain is common during pregnancy. You are putting on weight, which causes a shift in your centre of gravity, and the hormones in your body are relaxing the ligaments that are found in the joints of your pelvis. On the other hand, back pain during pregnancy is frequently preventable or at least manageable. Think about these seven ways to put an end to the back pain that comes with pregnancy.
7 Tips For How To Relieve Severe Back Pain During Pregnancy
Having back pain is not typically a reason to make an appointment with your health care provider; however, there are instances in which it is essential to schedule an appointment with your provider. If you are experiencing any of the following, you should get in touch with your health care provider as soon as possible: Extreme discomfort in the back Back pain that is either becoming increasingly severe or suddenly starting.
1. Practice good posture
As your baby grows, your center of gravity shifts forward. To avoid falling forward, you might compensate by leaning back — which can strain the muscles in your lower back and contribute to back pain during pregnancy. Keep these principles of good posture in mind:
- Stand up straight and tall.
- Hold your chest high.
- Keep your shoulders back and relaxed.
- Don’t lock your knees.
When you stand, use a comfortably wide stance for the best support. If you must stand for long periods of time, rest one foot on a low step stool — and take time for frequent breaks.
Good posture also means sitting with care. Choose a chair that supports your back, or place a small pillow behind your lower back.
2. Get the right gear
Wear low-heeled — not flat — shoes with good arch support. Avoid high heels, which can further shift your balance forward and cause you to fall.
You might also consider wearing a maternity support belt. Although research on the effectiveness of maternity support belts is limited, some women find the additional support helpful.
3. Lift properly
When lifting a small object, squat down and lift with your legs. Don’t bend at the waist or lift with your back. It’s also important to know your limits. Ask for help if you need it.
4. Sleep on your side
Sleep on your side, not your back. Keep one or both knees bent. Consider using pregnancy or support pillows between your bent knees, under your abdomen and behind your back.
5. Try heat, cold or massage
While evidence to support their effectiveness is limited, massage or the application of a heating pad or ice pack to your back might help.
6. Include physical activity in your daily routine
Regular physical activity can keep your back strong and might relieve back pain during pregnancy. With your health care provider’s OK, try gentle activities — such as walking or water exercise. A physical therapist also can show you stretches and exercises that might help.
You might also stretch your lower back. Rest on your hands and knees with your head in line with your back. Pull in your stomach, rounding your back slightly. Hold for several seconds, then relax your stomach and back — keeping your back as flat as possible. Gradually work up to 10 repetitions. Ask your health care provider about other stretching exercises, too.
7. Consider complementary therapies
Some research suggests that acupuncture might relieve back pain during pregnancy. Chiropractic treatment might provide comfort for some women as well. However, further research is needed. If you’re considering complementary therapy, discuss it with your health care provider. Be sure to tell the chiropractor or acupuncturist that you are pregnant.
Know when to consult your health care provider
If you have severe back pain during pregnancy or back pain that lasts more than two weeks, talk to your health care provider. He or she might recommend medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or other treatments.
Keep in mind that back pain during pregnancy might be a sign of preterm labour or a urinary tract infection. If you have back pain during pregnancy that’s accompanied by vaginal bleeding, fever or burning during urination, contact your health care provider right away.
Why is Pregnancy Back Pain worse At Night?
Pain in the lower back that is associated with pregnancy and gets worse at night may be the result of an expanding uterus, which puts pressure on a major blood vessel known as the vena cava, resulting in blood vessel congestion in the pelvis and the lumbar spine. This can cause lower back pain that gets worse during the night.
How Can I Help My Pregnant Wife With Back Pain?
First off – yikes, I remember those days. I worked 8-10 hour shifts at VS walking in dressy heels on marble floors, and I came home ready to die. There are a few things that will help. Anne K. Halsall already has listed some GREAT ones… here are just a couple more that I’d suggest:
- If you can afford it, I’d indulge her with a prenatal massage with a good therapist (or more than one, honestly, one per month would be HEAVEN, but even two over the next few months would be awesome). My mom treated me to one during my first pregnancy – she took me to Burke Williams, gave me a prenatal massage, and just let me relax in the calm atmosphere for a while. It was absolutely amazing.
- Nightly back rub. My awesome husband used to rub my back for five to ten minutes every night – yup, every single night (for our first baby anyway, haha). Especially the lower back, butt, and upper thighs (think sciatic nerve pain). After all, day standing and working, this was bliss. It helped me relax both mentally and physically. Plus, it just feels nice to be TOUCHED sometimes, it releases endorphins and just makes you feel loved. Pregnant women especially will relish extra love and attention. Touching makes you healthier
- Really comfortable shoes. Even if she spends most of the day sitting, good shoes are going to be important, and like someone else mentions, they should be a little bit (her feet will very likely swell as time passes). They should have good arch support and not be too confining.
- Pool access. Whether that’s at the Y or a gym or a club, being able to go just float around in a pool is going to be AWESOME for her as this progresses. Being in a pool will change her centre of gravity and give relief to her muscles and joints. Plus, it really helps the body combat swelling also. Talk about taking a load off – floating around in the pool while pregnant is bliss. Try to find one that’s not too crowded or popular, because she may feel bashful or unwilling to appear in a bathing suit in front of strangers or crowds.
- Memory foam mattress cover – if you don’t have a Tempurpedic or sleep number bed (which we didn’t and don’t), the memory foam mattress cover we bought at Costco might be a really welcome sleeping addition. I used to prefer a very firm mattress, but once I was pregnant, I found it hard to find a comfortable way to sleep. My husband bought me a memory foam mattress cover for our bed, and I revelled in it. I loved how it sort of helped hug and support my new, bulgy, heavy body in better ways. It really helped me feel more comfortable sleeping on my side (I used to be a tummy sleeper).
- Household help. I’m not sure who does the majority of chores in your household, but things like leaning over the sink to do dishes, or the stove to cook, or bending and lifting the laundry, etc, used to give me HORRIBLE backaches when I was pregnant. We weren’t in a position to afford hiring in some outside help, but if you can, this is such a good time to do it. Otherwise, extra assistance from you in doing the dishes or laundry will help save her back a bit.
- Big balance ball/birthing ball. Sitting on it and slowly rolling in circles helps relieve back pain, and it also can be used during labor: Mommy Mondays: The Yoga Ball – Pregnancy, Labor, Postpartum and Beyond
- A new bra. Seriously. I have helped SO many pregnant women find new bras during their pregnancy – and it’s something I LOVED about my job at VS. I was really able to leverage my own personal experience of having been pregnant combined with the bra knowledge from VS to help them find better bras (I know VS is not top of the line, but it is what was the best thing available in our small city in ND!). Because her breasts are likely growing and her chest is likely expanded by an inch or so (Common Pregnancy and Postpartum Discomforts), it’s very likely her pre-pregnancy bras are no longer fitting well. Take her in for a fitting and to buy a new, supportive bra. Bad bra fit = back and shoulder pain. You don’t need any extra of THAT during pregnancy.
- Not related to pain, but I’d like to second Anne’s recommendation of TLC for the mama-to-be. This is a tough, emotional time, and even the strongest mama has moments of doubt, fear, and insecurity. This is the time to start being extra reassuring and supportive (genuinely, no false flattery!) – and don’t forget to keep it up AFTER the baby is born too. I remember feeling days when I’d cry because I felt like I spent so much energy nurturing and caring for our new baby and for my husband, but no one was caring for me anymore. I expressed that feeling to my husband, and he was quick to help fix that. The truth is, he was helping just as much as he did before we got pregnant – but after the lavish attention he’d showered on me during my pregnancy, the lack of that “extra” after the baby was born made me feel abandoned and neglected! Not entirely fair on him, but he was a good sport and stepped up the TLC again.
Congrats to you both… best wishes for the next 20 weeks or so!