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.
Back Pain Is Not Accompanied By Abdominal Tightness
When youre in labor, the uterus is contracting. Though you may feel it in your back, the contractions wrap around from the front. If you are experiencing contractions and back labor, you may notice your belly tightening at regular intervals along with your back pain.
Regular back pain is not accompanied by abdominal tightness.
While these tips may help you distinguish between regular back pain and early labor signs, be advised that once labor progresses, if you experience true back labor it may feel very different. During your period of hard labor as opposed to early labor back pain may not let up like regular contractions, and you may feel a constant pain if you are experiencing back labor .
Keep This Statistic In Mind
Other Remedies For Sciatic Nerve Pain
A gentle massage over the lower section of your back can do a lot to help relieve inflammation and discomfort around your sciatic nerve. Its best to go to a professional masseuse, whos experienced in pregnancy-specific massages. A lot of spas even offer special mom-to-be massages to help relieve all of the aches and pains that come with pregnancy, while also making sure you and baby are safe.
You can also use a tennis ball to give yourself a massage at home. If youre early on in your pregnancy, you can lay on your back with the tennis ball under your lower back to roll out the tension. As your pregnancy progresses, we recommend you do this while sitting against the back of a chair.
Make sure you avoid sitting for long periodsif you have a desk job get up and take a walk regularly. Its also a good idea to use heat packs on your lower back or buttocks while youre sitting, to help keep tension from forming in those muscles. Being mindful of your posture while sitting will also help reduce irritation around your sciatic nerve. Taking a warm bath, using over-the-counter pain relievers, or using a foam roller on your buttocks and lower legs are all great ways to ease the pain.
Recommended Reading: How To Help Back Pain From Standing All Day
Stay Clear Of Leg Lifts
Leg lifts are sometimes recommended as an exercise to reinforce your core or stomach muscle mass. Exercising to restore stamina to your lower back can be extremely valuable in easing distress yet raising both legs with each other while pushing your back is very demanding on your core.
This exercise can make back strain worse if weak. Rather, try pushing your back with one leg right and the other leg bent at the knee. Keeping your lower back level on the floor.
Slowly raise the straight boost around 6 inches as well as hold briefly. Lower leg slowly. Repeat 10 times, after that switch over legs.
What Are Some Causes Of Back Pain During Pregnancy
There are several reasons why you may experience back pain during pregnancy. Sone of the most common causes include:
- Weight gain: As you gain weight during pregnancy, the spine has to support that added weight. That change causes lower back pain. The weight of the growing baby and uterus can also put pressure on the blood vessels and nerves in the pelvis and back, causing pain.
- Changes in hormones: During pregnancy, your body releases a hormone called relaxin that allows ligaments in the pelvic area to relax and joints to loosen in preparation for giving birth. The hormone can cause ligaments that support the spine to loosen as well. This, along with the shifting of joints, can lead to instability and pain.
- Changes in posture: Poor posture, excessive standing or sitting, and bending over can trigger or increase your back pain. In addition, while youre pregnant, your center of gravity shifts forward as your uterus and baby grow, causing your posture and the way you move to change. This can result in strain and pain.
- Stress: Stress can cause muscle tension in the back, resulting in back pain or back spasms. You may experience an increase in back pain during stressful periods of your pregnancy.
- Chronic back pain prior to pregnancy.
Recommended Reading: What Type Of Bed Is Best For Lower Back Pain
Ways To Ease Back Pain During Pregnancy
Brian Levine, MD, MS, is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology as well as in reproductive endocrinology and infertility.
Low back pain and pelvic pain are among the most common problems that occur during pregnancy if you are pregnant and experiencing these symptoms, read on, you’re not alone. About half of pregnant women will complain of significant low back pain symptoms. The changes your body experiences during pregnancy are dramatic, and these physiologic changes can cause unexpected pain and difficulty with seemingly normal activities.
Contrary to popular belief, back pain is not only a problem later in pregnancy. In fact, the incidence of back pain during pregnancy peaks around 18-24 weeks. While the added weight of the developing fetus is a large component of why pregnant women develop these symptoms, it is not the only reason. A complex set of physiologic changes in the body can contribute to the development of lower back symptoms.
Tips For Good Posture
Using good posture means holding yourself so that your spine is aligned and your muscles can work without strain. To use good posture:
Raise your chest and head. Try to keep your ears lined up over your shoulders.
Use your stomach muscles to pull in your stomach. This reduces the amount of weight your back must support.
Keep your pelvis level. Think of your pelvis as a bowl of water that will spill if it tips too far forward or backward.
You May Like: What Is The Best Treatment For Back Pain
Risk Factors For Back Pain During Pregnancy
Back pain is incredibly common, but some risk factors do increase your chance of experiencing it .
Some of these risk factors are:
- Previous experience with back pain before pregnancy.
- Back pain during a previous pregnancy.
- Weak abdominal muscles.
- Pain in the center of the lower back.
- A deep ache in the buttocks.
- Pain that extends through the thighs and legs.
While sharp pains can certainly happen during pregnancy, this type of pain is much less common. Sharp back pain that shoots down the legs can also be related to nerve pain or a more serious condition. It is best to consult your doctor or healthcare provider immediately if you are experiencing sharp pains.
When To Be Concerned About Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy
The pelvic pain you feel should be mild to moderate. The pain should also reduce and/or go away with rest. If you have any concerns about your pain during pregnancy, it is recommended that you visit your doctor or OB-GYN immediately.
You should seek professional attention from your doctor or OB-GYN if:
- You experience a fever and/or chills along with your pain
- Your pain is consistent and doesnt go away with rest
- You have lower abdominal pain that doesnt subside
- You feel a burning sensation when you urinate
- You experience dizziness and persistently feel nauseous and/or vomit
- You see greenish, watery, or bloody discharge
- Bleeding occurs
Recommended Reading: How To Ease My Back Pain
Find The Proper Shoes
You may be a fashion maven who receives regular compliments on your maternity style, but if you’re wearing high-fashion shoes, you’re not doing your back any favors. “High heels increase the curvature of your back and create pressure” that drives the weight of your pregnancy directly into your lower spine and hip joints, Dr. Rosser says. You may also lose your balance and heels cause you to be less stable.
But walking in flats isn’t the answer either, because they leave your feet, which tend to spread during pregnancy because of hormonal changes, unsupported. Poor foot position can manifest itself as imbalance and pain all the way up your legs and back. To get the best support-and to relieve the most pressure-Dr. Rosser advises a low-heeled shoe that is comfortable with either a built-in arch support or an orthotic insertion. The slight rise of the low heel will help distribute the weight that’s on your legs in a more stable and back-supportive way.
What Causes Back Pain During Pregnancy
Back pain during pregnancy is related to a number of factors. Some women begin to have lower back pain with the onset of pregnancy. Women who are most at risk for back pain are those who are overweight or had back pain prior to pregnancy.Here is a list of potential causes of back pain or discomfort during pregnancy:
- Increase of hormones Hormones released during pregnancy allow ligaments in the pelvic area to soften and the joints to become looser in preparation for the birthing process this shift in joints and loosening of ligaments may affect the support your back normally experiences.
- Center of gravity Your center of gravity will gradually move forward as your uterus and baby grow, which causes your posture to change.
- Additional weight Your developing pregnancy and baby create an additional weight that your back must support.
- Posture or position Poor posture, excessive standing, and bending over can trigger or escalate the pain you experience in your back.
- Stress Stress usually accumulates in weak areas in the body, and because of the changes in your pelvic area, you may experience an increase in back pain during stressful periods of your pregnancy.
You May Like: Can A Firm Mattress Cause Lower Back Pain
Common Causes Of Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy
Some abdominal aches and pains during pregnancy are quite common and generally pose no threat to you and your baby.
- Round Ligament Pain: This can be characterized by a sharp stabbing pain when you change positions, or it can also be an achy, dull, lingering pain. Round ligament pain is caused by the two large ligaments that run from your uterus to your groin. As the uterus grows, these ligaments are stretched and create discomfort. This pain is generally reported in the second trimester, and considered to be harmless. Read the full Round Ligament Pain article.
- Gas and Constipation: Gas during pregnancy is caused by increased levels of progesterone. As more of this hormone is released, your gastrointestinal tract slows down, which makes food travel more slowly. Drinking plenty of water, eating fiber-rich foods, exercising, and using stool softeners are excellent ways to combat excessive gas and constipation. Learn more about Constipation during Pregnancy.
- Common Discomforts: In addition to those listed above, there are several other common abdominal discomforts that can be experienced during pregnancy and are generally non-threatening. Your growing uterus, stomach viruses, kidney stones, fibroids, and food sensitivities are all valid forms of harmless abdominal pain.
How To Protect Your Back
You can protect your back during pregnancy by avoiding or changing the way you do some things. This becomes more important the further along in your pregnancy you are.
- Avoid heavy lifting. If you have to lift something heavy, bend your knees, keep your back straight and tighten your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. Make sure the object you are lifting stays close to your body. Allow toddlers to climb onto your lap or into the car or bath, and squat down next to them rather than picking them up.
- Always have a good posture. Try to keep your pelvis symmetrical. Stand with your weight evenly on both legs, your back straight and your pelvis tucked under. Avoid standing for a long time. Sit up straight with your bottom at the back of your chair and your feet on a stool if necessary.
- Avoid activities that might hurt your back. These include bending or twisting, climbing ladders, or walking up steep hills.
- Be careful in bed. Sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees. To get out of bed, roll onto your side with your knees together. Then use your arms for support as you swing your legs onto the floor.
- Wear shoes with low heels . These have good arch support. Avoid high heels.
- Consider a maternity support belt.
Causes Of Back Pain In Pregnancy
There are several physiologic changes that occur in a pregnant body that can explain the increased chance of developing back pain. The most notable is the weight gain that occurs during pregnancy which is typically 25-35 pounds, with at least half of that weight gain occurring in the abdominal region. The weight change also shifts the posture of the spine and changes your body’s center of gravity.
The second major change that occurs is hormonal. These hormone levels that are raised increase the laxity of joints and ligaments in the body. One of these important hormones, called relaxin, has been shown to correlate with symptoms of back pain. Studies have found that women with the highest levels of relaxin often have the most significant back pain.
Treatments For Back Pain In Pregnancy
More good news: Unless you had chronic backaches before you got pregnant, your pain will likely ease gradually before you give birth.
Meanwhile, there are many things you can do to treat low back pain or make it rarer and milder:
- If you need to pick something up from the ground, use your legs to squat rather than bend over.
- Don’t wear high-heeled shoes. Choose low-heeled shoes with good arch support. Remember, as hormones loosen joints, you may need to buy a larger shoe size.
- Don’t sleep on your back.
- Wear support hose.
If your back pain persists, you may want to consult your doctor to see what else you might try. Be sure to consult your doctor before taking pain medications. Acetaminophen is safe for most women to take during pregnancy. Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen are not advised. In some cases, your doctor may recommend other pain medicines or muscle relaxants that are safe during pregnancy.
You May Like: When You Hurt Your Lower Back
Back Pain In The Second And Third Trimesters
You might experience back pain during the second or third trimester. In addition to the potential causes listed above, back pain can result from a condition called sciatica. As the uterus expands, it can put pressure on the sciatic nerve. This causes pain that runs from your lower back down one leg to the knee or foot. Seeking medical help, taking warm showers, getting physical therapy, and taking pain-relief medication may help reduce the pain. The good news about sciatica is that it will likely resolve itself once your baby is born.
Toward the end of your pregnancy, a dull ache in your back and lower abdomen, together with pressure in your pelvis, may be a sign you are going into labor.
Avoiding Backache In Pregnancy
There are several things you can do to help prevent backache from happening, and to help you cope with an aching back if it does occur.
It is important to avoid lifting heavy objects. When lifting or picking up something from the floor, be sure to bend your knees and keep your back straight.
These tips listed here can also help you to protect your back try to remember them every day:
- move your feet when turning around to avoid twisting your spine
- wear flat shoes as these allow your weight to be evenly distributed
- work at a surface high enough to prevent you stooping
- try to balance the weight between two bags when carrying shopping
- sit with your back straight and well supported
- avoid standing or sitting for long periods
- make sure you get enough rest, particularly later in pregnancy
- try to have good posture
A firm mattress can also help to prevent and relieve backache. If your mattress is too soft, put a piece of hardboard under it to make it firmer.
Some other activities that may help ease your back pain include:
- aqua aerobics
Also Check: Who Should I See For Lower Back Pain
Treatment For Early Back Pain During Pregnancy
No matter what stage of your pregnancy youre in, there are ways to treat back pain. You probably wont be able to prevent it completely, but you can help to minimize the pain.
Follow these tips for reducing back pain throughout your pregnancy.
If your back pain seems to be linked to your stress levels, things like meditation, prenatal yoga, and extra rest can all be helpful ways to manage your stress levels.