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5 Simple Ways to Ease Back Pain During Pregnancy

5 Simple Ways to Ease Back Pain During Pregnancy
Back Pain Pregnancy

Ladies, this is a subject that can affect not only pregnant women, but pretty much anyone at some stage of their lives — back pain!

I’m sure many BBG mums can sympathise when I mention back pain pregnancy symptoms. Often, we write lower back pain off as one of those things you have to live with during pregnancy.

In this blog, I want to explain what you can do to try to ease back pain in pregnancy. Many of these tips can also work for anyone who isn’t currently pregnant.

Jump to:

What causes back pain during pregnancy?

There can be a number of reasons why back pain occurs during pregnancy and it can affect different parts of the back. 

Some of the common causes of pregnancy back pain include: 

  • Postural changes — Your centre of gravity changes during pregnancy, along with the added demand on your body to support a growing baby. This can place pressure on your back. 
  • Additional weight — As the baby grows, there is an increase of weight that your back has to support. This can cause your lower back muscles to become tight. 
  • Hormonal changes — The release of the hormone relaxin allows for ligaments and joints in the pelvis area to loosen as your body prepares for birth. This can also affect the support your body can provide. 
  • The position of your baby — Particularly as your due date gets closer, the baby can compress nerves, which can cause pain. 
  • Stress — With the release of stress hormones, the back muscles may not fully relax so they remain in a state of tightness. 

As I’ve mentioned in some of my previous pregnancy blogs, each pregnancy is different. That includes back pain pregnancy symptoms and what the pain feels like. Some people may feel a tightness in their lower back, while others notice tenderness or what feels like a strain.

Back pain can have an impact on the way you move, how much sleep you get while pregnant and whether you are able to exercise or not. 

How can you ease back pain during pregnancy?

While it might not be possible to prevent pregnancy back pain altogether, there are ways to minimise and ease it. 

Below are some back pain pregnancy tips you can try to find relief. 

Back Pain Pregnancy Posture

1. Maintain good posture

While it can be hard to stop yourself from hunching during pregnancy, try to correct yourself and maintain good posture as much as possible. This can help to reduce the loading on your back.

When standing, try to stand up tall and straight, with your shoulders back. This keeps your body in alignment. 

If you are sitting down, try to sit up straight with your bottom at the back of the chair. You can also use a small pillow or cushion to support your back or elevate your feet with a footstool.

Back Pain Pregnancy Exercise

2. Exercise

Regular activity during pregnancy can help to protect your back and may help minimise back pain. Before doing any exercise, ensure your healthcare professional has given you the okay. If they say exercise is okay, a safe pregnancy workout can be a good way to keep your back strong and to help get the muscles that promote good posture moving.

Back Pain Pregnancy Sleep

3. Support your back during sleep

Most healthcare professionals will recommend sleeping on your side (your left side, if possible) during pregnancy. Doing so can help to take stress off your lower back while allowing the blood to flow to your lower limbs more easily.

To sleep comfortably during pregnancy, I use a pregnancy pillow to help support one leg, as this can reduce the strain on the lower back. 

During pregnancy, sleeping with a pillow behind your back may give you some additional support too. Sleeping with a pillow can reduce strain, minimising the risk of back pain keeping you awake. 

Sleep is when your body recovers and repairs itself, so make it a priority!

Back Pain Pregnancy Bath

4. Gently apply heat

Just as you might treat a tight/stiff muscle, applying heat can help to treat back pain. 

Heat packs can help to stimulate blood flow to aching muscles. When applied for no more than 10-15 minutes to your lower back, the additional blood flow can help encourage tense muscles to relax. If using a heat pack, be careful not to overheat it and check against your arm before applying to your back. Don’t sleep with a heat pack on — you don’t want to risk overheating. 

A warm shower or bath can also be useful for relaxing back pain pregnancy sore muscles.

Back Pain Pregnancy Stretch

5. Stretch

Some gentle, pregnancy-friendly stretches can make a difference in reducing back pain and you might be surprised by the types of stretches that can help. 

For example, you might not think of doing calf stretches but tight calves can change the way you walk, which can lead to lower back pain. 

Calf stretch
This can help with aching legs and tight calves. 

To stretch your calves:

  1. Plant both feet on the floor hip-width apart.
  2. Release your left leg and take a large step forward, to plant your feet in a split stance.
  3. Keeping your right heel on the floor, shift your bodyweight forward and slightly bend your left knee. If done correctly, you should feel the stretch in your right calf muscle.
  4. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds. 
  5. Repeat this stretch on the other side.

Wide Child’s Pose
Child’s Pose is always such a nice stretch, so modifying it for pregnancy means you can still enjoy the benefits!

To stretch your arms and back:

  1. Starting on all fours on a yoga mat, ensure that your knees are wider than your hips and your hands are below your shoulders.
  2. Draw your glutes towards your heels and lower your torso towards your thighs. At the same time, extend your arms along the mat as far forward as comfortable. Draw your shoulder blades down and back.
  3. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds, breathing deeply throughout.

Glute stretch
Tight hips and glutes can contribute to lower back pain, so a gentle stretch can help to relieve some of the tension. 

To stretch your glutes:

  1. Begin in a seated position on a yoga mat with your legs out in front of you, with your feet planted on the mat. Press your hands and feet into the floor to elevate your hips. Lift your right leg and turn out your right knee to place your ankle on your left leg just above your knee.
  2. Slowly lower your hips to return to a seated position.
  3. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds, breathing deeply throughout. 
  4. Repeat this stretch on the other side.

Chest stretch
Chest stretches can help to open up the chest area, reducing the risk of hunching and causing pain in your lower back or across the shoulders. 

To do a chest stretch:

  1. While standing, plant both feet on the floor slightly further than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bring your hands together behind your body and interlock your fingers.
  3. Gently extend your arms and pull your hands away from your body. This should cause your shoulders to retract and open up your chest.

When to seek help for pregnancy back pain

If you have severe back pain at any time, it interferes with your daily routine or if it has been two weeks and you have had back pain continually, chat to your healthcare professional. 

Back pain that is severe can sometimes be a sign of something else going on, so it is best to have it checked out to put your mind at ease. 

Try these tips to ease back pain in pregnancy

Lower back pain in pregnancy can be very common as your body changes with the growing baby. The good news is, by staying active and fit during pregnancy, back pain may be minimised. 

Hopefully, these tips help you to ease back pain and stay as comfortable as possible during pregnancy. 

* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.

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