Back Pain during Pregnancy

close-up photo of baby bump

Exploring the causes of and remedies for pregnancy-related back pain.

Back pain and pregnancy seem to go hand in hand. Some mothers feel back discomfort begin in the second trimester and for others, back pain occurs more suddenly in the last month of pregnancy.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why women experience back pain during pregnancy:

1. Weight gain is one possible cuplrit of back pain given that the mother’s center of gravity shifts during her pregnancy. When she leans back slightly to compensate for all of the extra weight in front, it puts more strain on her lower back muscles. This causes her back muscles to have to work harder as she leans back to compensate for the extra weight.

2. In addition, the two joints between her pelvis and sacrum, (known as the sacroiliac joints), also stretch as the mother’s pelvis expands for the growing baby. The stretch and pulling of these joints is a common cause of back pain during pregnancy.

3. In addition, some babies may favor a posterior (or face up) position in the pelvis, which puts more weight and pressure on her back, causing back pain. If the baby’s head hits the sciatic nerve, she can also have shooting pain across her back and down her legs.

4. Not to mention a posterior baby is likely tyo cause back pain during labor, which is known as “back labor“. Some women who have back labor can experience back pain in between contractions as well as during contractions.

Any or all of these situations can result in back pain during pregnancy and chances are very high that at least one of them happens to every mother at some point in nine months.

Although there is no quick fix that works for every mother, many women find at least partial relief from back pain during pregnancy using one or several of these methods:

1. Exercise – especially pelvic tilts or “angry cat” stretches, several times per day. You can also use a birth ball to stretch out your back by “hugging” the ball in an all-fours position.

2. Ice or hot packs to affected area.

3. Chiropractic treatment – see a chiropractor that is familiar with pregnancy issues.

4. Use a scarf or rebozo by wrapping under your belly and tie behind your back to “lift” her belly. This will help to take some of the weight off your back.

5. Place pillows between your knees and lay on your side at night to take pressure off your back. This alone takes about 50% of the pressure off your back.

6. Water therapy – baths, jacuzzi or swimming are all great ways to get relief. Swimming is an excellent way to stay toned and take the pressure off your back. If you use a jacuzzi be careful not to set the temperature over 98 degrees.

If you have back pain during labor, be sure to look over some of the additional pain relief techniques in this article.

If you found other methods for relief, we’d love to hear more!