Back pain is a common complaint among pregnant women. Nearly half will experience this problem to some degree. Pain results from ligaments stretching and from weight gain. The extra weight combined with a shift in your center of gravity strains the muscles of the lower back. There are some things you can do to relieve the discomfort.
Exercise is a great way to strengthen the back muscles. Prenatal yoga strengthens the muscles and improves balance. Swimming is good for relieving the pain, as well as stretching and toning the muscles of the lower back. The natural buoyancy of the water is an added benefit.
Prenatal massage is great for sore muscles. Massage is safe and effective after the first trimester. If you have back problems, consider weekly sessions. It’s important to find a massage therapist who is experienced in prenatal massage. Ask your doctor, midwife, pregnant friends or new mothers for a recommendation.
Avoid excessive weight gain to prevent lower back problems. Stay within the recommended limits for gaining weight. Gaining too much weight puts more strain on the muscles, which contributes to back pain. I’m now pregnant with our fourth baby. I gained the most with our second and had more back pain with that baby than with any of the others.
Your sleeping position can either contribute to or help relieve back pain. The best sleep position is on the left side. Use either a body pillow or a few regular pillows under the abdomen and between the knees. This gives good support and relieves strain on the muscles.
Lifting your toddler or other objects can add strain to the back. Don’t bend and lift with the back muscles. Instead, squat and use your legs for lifting. Avoid lifting very heavy objects or older children. This will increase the strain on your muscles and increase back pain.
Support belts are made for pregnant women. They are adjustable to fit as you grow. Belts are available at most maternity stores and on the internet. They reduce strain on the back muscles and help relieve pain. In addition, they help improve the posture. This is important, since poor posture can add to back pain.