When To Get Medical Help For Pregnancy Back Pain
Though some back pain is normal during pregnancy, severe pain, sudden pain, or pain that goes longer than two weeks may be a sign of a more serious health problem. It could indicate preterm labor, for example, or perhaps a urinary tract infection or kidney stone. Call you doctor if you experience these symptoms, or any of the following:
- Back pain that doesnt improve
- Back pain on one side of the body
- Back pain with weakness in one or both legs
- Rhythmic back pains
- Back pain accompanied by vaginal bleeding, fever, urinary burning or a change in vaginal discharge
Another symptom to watch for: If you suddenly cannot walk due to pain or weakness, call your provider, Dr. Meyer advises. You should also reach out if you lose feeling in your back, legs, bottom or pelvis. Numbness could indicate a compressed nerve.
Lower Back And Abdominal Pain With Cramping
Sudden onset of severe abdominal pain and cramping may indicate a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. In this condition, the egg fertilizes and grows in a place other than the uterus, most commonly inside the fallopian tube, which ruptures due to the growing size of the fertilized egg.7
The symptoms of a ruptured ectopic pregnancy may also include severe lower back and/or groin pain. This condition is a medical emergency and must be treated with surgical intervention on an urgent basis.
Tips For Getting In And Out Of Bed With Back Pain
- Try to avoid lying flat for long periods of time. Its better for your back and your baby to lie on your side.
- You may find it more comfortable to have a pillow under your bump or between your knees to support your back. This can help you sleep better, too.
- Some women find pregnancy pillows can help, but they can be pricey. You may find a normal pillow does the trick.
- If you are getting pain in your hip from lying on your side, it may help to place a duvet under your sheet or use a memory-foam topper for a softer mattress.
Getting in and out of bed can get more difficult as your bump gets bigger. To take the strain off your back, try rolling onto your side moving your shoulders, hips and knees at the same time. Let your legs ease off the edge of the bed and put your feet on the floor. At the same time, use your arms to push yourself up to a sitting position.
Doing this all as one movement can be more comfortable. Try the movement backwards to get back into bed.
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Thigh Pain In Pregnancy
Temporary compression, pulling, and/or loss of blood supply to a peripheral nerve may occur in the thigh during pregnancy. The swelling of soft tissues and pressure from the growing uterus may add additional pressure on these nerves.
Thigh pain may occur under these circumstances when the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve gets compressed. This nerve provides sensation to the waist area and the front and side of the thigh.2
Compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve results in a condition called meralgia paresthetica, which causes one or more of the following symptoms, typically on one side of the body6:
- Burning or achy pain in the outer side and/or front of the thigh
- A cold, icy feeling in different parts of the thigh
- Buzzing or vibrations in the thigh
Meralgia paresthetica pain increases with activity, such as while standing or walking, and alleviates when sitting.6
Complementary And Alternative Medical Treatments Provide Added Pain
Safe pregnancy pain management techniques that may be used along with conventional medicine or as an alternative option include one or a combination of the following treatments2:
Research indicates favorable results for these therapies when used under the guidance of a trained medical professional.
Back pain during pregnancy affects the lower musculoskeletal system, causing excessive strain on the lower back, hip, pelvis, and legs. Women who follow appropriate treatment protocols and engage in back and core strengthening therapy during early pregnancy can avoid or reduce the severity of lower back pain.2
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Consult A Doctor Before Taking Any Pain Meds
Pregnancy and discomfort often go hand in hand. But when discomfort progresses to pain, many expectant women wonder what medications they can safely use for relief. Luckily, safe painkiller options exist, but as with everything else during pregnancy, diligence is necessary. So, discuss all medications that you takeincluding over-the-counter drugswith your OB-GYN.
Is Peppermint Oil Capsules Safe During Pregnancy
When taken internally, peppermint oil should be in enterically coated products to reduce possible irritation. External use is suitable during pregnancy. However peppermint is not recommended to be taken internally during pregnancy, unless as a tea which may be taken to help relieve morning sickness.
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Using A Lumbar Roll Helps Avoid Pregnancy Back Pain While Sitting
Using ergonomically supported posture while sitting for extended periods can help decrease the frequency and intensity of back pain.
- Sitting up straight and aligning the ears, shoulders, and hips in a vertical line is recommended.
- Using a lumbar roll in the small of the back can help support the spinal curvature.1
- This roll may also help reduce pelvic pain that occurs from a sit-to-stand position.1
- Inflatable lumbar rolls are best suited for pregnant women to accommodate the change in body size and posture.1
Taking short breaks every hour and briefly stretching or walking a short distance is typically recommended.
Tylenol While Pregnant: Risks & Concerns
While acetaminophen is largely considered the safest pain reliever to take while pregnant, it’s not without some risks. Emerging research suggests a possible association between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and a small increase in the likelihood of asthma, ADHD and autism in children. More recently, a concensus among a group of scientists was published, claiming that prenatal exposure to acetaminophen may alter fetal development.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published a statement in response emphasizing the lack of evidence that proves a direct relationship between the use of acetaminophen during any trimester and fetal developmental issues. Dr. Yamaguchi agrees with the recommendations offered by ACOG and encourages pregnant people to consult their healthcare providers should they have concerns regarding acetaminophen usage.
The cited studies in the concensus aren’t considered strong scientific evidence since many were done in animals and often at much higher doses than typical, or through self-reports by women who took Tylenol during pregnancy . Much of the criticim of these studies are that they have imperfect controlswhich makes it really hard to separate what factors actually drive the results.
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Alternative Therapies For Pregnant Women With Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can be quite difficult to manage during pregnancy due to the potential risk of pain medications to the fetus. All pain medications are classified by the FDA into categories describing the risk to the fetus, and if they should be used by pregnant women. Oftentimes if medication is required to treat the chronic pain, the benefits to the pregnant woman, out-weighs the risk to fetus. There are a number of alternative therapies that are recommended and reviewed before medication with potential risk to the fetus will be prescribed.
Alternative therapies that have been shown to help alleviate chronic pain during pregnancy include acupuncture, water therapy, massage and physical therapies. Some other non-medication treatments that can help to reduce chronic pain symptoms include hot and cold therapy, meditation, and yoga. Acupuncture has been shown to be well tolerated by the pregnant chronic pain patient and is especially helpful with chronic back pain. It does not appear to present any harm to the fetus. It has also been found to be slightly more effective in relieving chronic pain than physical or massage therapy, although both of these therapies can be of great assistance in pain relief as well.
How Common Is Back Pain During Pregnancy
Back pain is incredibly common during pregnancy, in fact, it affects more than two-thirds of pregnant women and is experienced in varying degrees of severity by most expectant women.
Though most women experience some level of general discomfort during pregnancy, 50 to 70 percent of women specifically report struggling with back pain during pregnancy.
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When To Worry About Pregnancy Back Pain
Low back pain that’s worse when you’re standing but eases once you sit or lie down is considered normal during pregnancy. But talk to your doctor if the pain starts to radiate down your legs into your calves or feet interferes with daily activities or causes fever, chills,weight loss, weakness, or sensory issues.
Limiting Standing And Walking Reduces The Occurrence Of Back Pain
If standing and/or walking causes or aggravates pregnancy back pain and leg pain, a maternity brace and comfortable walking shoes that provide shock-absorbing properties may be used. In general, any activity that includes long periods of standing and/or walking must be avoided and intermittent sitting must be performed.1
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How To Manage Back Spasms During Pregnancy
The good news of expecting a baby makes the mother feel all excited and delightful. You cherish every moment, waiting for the day you will be able to hold your babys little hands with yours, and caress his face. But, with a baby growing inside your womb, there are some physical and mental issues the mother-to-be might have to face. Amongst the most common ones are chronic back spasms during pregnancy. Sometimes, it vanishes on its own while the other times call for great care and supervision. Therefore, it is important for expecting mothers to know the causes of their intense back pains.
Why Do I Have Back Pain
During pregnancy your ligaments loosen up and stretch to get your body ready for labour. This puts strain on your joints, which can cause back pain.
Pregnancy also affects your posture . When youre pregnant, the natural curve in your spine increases because its trying to cope with the extra weight of your baby bump. This can cause pain.
Many women say the pain is worse in the evening and after 28 weeks of pregnancy .
Some women with lower back pain also have pelvic girdle pain , which is a common condition in pregnancy. It describes the pain caused by the pelvic joints getting stiff or less stable during pregnancy.
Back problems can affect your sleep and make it harder to go about your everyday life. But there are a few things you can do to help ease the pain, sleep better and stay strong throughout your pregnancy.
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What Influences Pain Intensity During Pregnancy
While age and smoking status has been not been shown to increase pain levels, higher body mass, more pregnancies, a previous history of back pain, and a previous history of pain during pregnancy have been connected to an increase in peripartum pain.
Also, younger women tend to have more intense pain when compared to older women. Studies have reported that approximately 10% of women said back pain during pregnancy prevented them from working, and more than 80% said it affects their ability to do daily tasks.
Think About Your Posture
When youre standing up, keep your head up and your shoulders back as much as you can.
When sitting on a chair, try to keep:
- your hips level with or slightly higher than your knees
- your bottom at the back of the chair
- your back supported by the chair
- your feet resting flat on the floor.
If you work in an office, the top of your computer screen should be set up just below eye level. Your keyboard should be at a comfortable height so your forearms are flat. Try to get up regularly so you dont get stiff.
Try not to slump when youre sitting on the sofa. Use cushions to support your back and have your feet resting on the floor. It may help to lie on your side if you are watching TV or relaxing.
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Gargle With Salt Water
Gargling with warm salt water can help clear your throat of irritants and loosen the mucus. The salt is also soothing and helps to draw out excess moisture.
To gargle, add Â½ teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm, not hot, water and mix it until dissolved. Take a sip, tip your head back, and gargle so the mixture reaches as far back in your throat as possible.
Gargle for about a minute, then spit out the salt water.
Exercises To Ease Back Pain In Pregnancy
This gentle exercise helps to strengthen stomach muscles, which can ease back pain in pregnancy:
1) Start on all fours with knees under hips, hands under shoulders, fingers facing forwards and stomach muscles lifted to keep your back straight.
2) Pull in your stomach muscles and raise your back up towards the ceiling, letting your head and bum relax downwards gently do not let your elbows lock and only move your back as far as you comfortably can.
3) Hold for a few seconds then slowly return to the box position take care not to hollow your back, it should always return to a straight, neutral position.
4) Do this slowly and rhythmically 10 times, making your muscles work hard and moving your back carefully.
Doing prenatal yoga or aquanatal classes with a qualified instructor can also help build your muscles to better support your back. Ask at your local leisure centre.
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Get A Prenatal Massage
A certified prenatal massage therapist can bring quick relief when back pain is acute, especially when it’s the result of muscular clenching that irritates nerves and sends pain signals to the brain. Research has shown that in addition to relieving pain, regular prenatal massage can help alleviate depression and anxiety in pregnancy.
Swedish massage is the most common and advisable method of prenatal massage because it is gentle and soothing, and it uses long, smooth strokes that won’t aggravate the joints or push fluid through the body in an unhealthy way. Women should first consult with their doctors to make sure prenatal massage is safe and then make sure the prenatal massage therapist is certified. To be comfortable on the massage table, a side-lying position is usually best.
When To Get Help
Talk to your GP or midwife if your back is very painful and affecting your quality of life. You may be referred to a physiotherapist.
Contact your GP urgently if you have back pain and you:
- lose feeling in one or both of your legs, your bum or your genitals
- cannot control the need to pee or poo
- feel the pain is intense at the start of the second or third trimester – this could be a sign of early labour
- have a fever, bleeding from your vagina or pain when you pee
- have pain under your ribs, on one or both sides
- suddenly need to pee very frequently
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What Pregnant Women Can Take For Indigestion And Heartburn
Safe to take: Tums, Maalox, Mylanta, Pepcid
Progesterone is at it again, causing heartburn by affecting your smooth muscle cells and relaxing the sphincter between your stomach and esophagus so acid comes up. Before you take Prilosec or another prescription medication while pregnant, try over-the-counter remedies first because they’re the least strong. Also eat smaller and more frequent meals, stop noshing two to three hours before you hit the sack, and steer clear of rich, fried, or spicy foods, which often trigger stomach irritation. Sleeping on an incline can also prevent the contents of your stomach from splashing into your esophagus, causing heartburn.
Causes Of Back Pain In Pregnant Women
Pregnancy back pain typically happens where the pelvis meets your spine, at the sacroiliac joint.
There are many possible reasons why it happens. Here are some of the more likely causes:
- Weight gain.During a healthy pregnancy, women typically gain between 25 and 35 pounds. The spine has to support that weight. That can cause lower back pain. The weight of the growingbabyand uterus also puts pressure on the blood vessels and nerves in the pelvis and back.
- Posture changes.Pregnancy shifts your center of gravity. As a result, you may gradually — even without noticing — begin to adjust your posture and the way you move. This may result in back pain or strain.
- Hormone changes.During pregnancy, your body makes a hormone called relaxin that allows ligaments in the pelvic area to relax and the joints to become looser in preparation for the birth process. The same hormone can cause ligaments that support the spine to loosen, leading to instability and pain.
- Muscle separation.As the uterus expands, two parallel sheets of muscles , which run from the rib cage to the pubic bone, may separate along the center seam. This separation may worsen back pain.
- Stress. Emotional stress can cause muscle tension in the back, which may be felt as back pain or back spasms. You may find that you experience an increase in back pain during stressful periods of your pregnancy.
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