If pregnancy is beginning to give you a pain in the back, you’re not alone.
Back pain during pregnancy is a common complaint. It affects most women at some stage during pregnancy.
Although pregnancy backache can be anything from mildly annoying to downright distressful, in most cases it’s simply a fact of life.
Let’s take a look at back pain during pregnancy and what you can do about it.
Back pain during pregnancy
Backaches most often start around mid-pregnancy, when your belly begins to show and pushes out of the pelvic area.
A backache can be caused by a number of different factors:
- Relaxin. This hormone is released during pregnancy to allow your pelvic ligaments to soften and the joints to become more flexible. These changes put extra strain on your back and hips
- Posture. Your lower back naturally begins to curve inwards as your baby grows, and your center of gravity alters to accommodate this. Your posture and movements will also change and this can cause strain and backache
- Position of the baby. Nerves can be pinched or compressed, depending on how the baby is positioned, and this causes mild to severe backache
- Added weight. As your little one grows, the extra weight puts pressure on nerves and blood vessels. Your spine carries this extra weight but it can cause muscles to feel tight and strained.
- Your baby bump. This causes your lower back to sway as your center of gravity moves forward. As a result, your back muscles become short, tight, and painful.
- Abdominal separation. The two lines of muscle running down your abdominals begin to separate to accommodate your uterus as it pushes forward. This separation can increase backache.
- Referred pain. You might experience weakness in other parts of your pelvis, such as separation of the symphysis pubic arch. These changes can also affect your back and increase pain.
If you already have existing backache, pregnancy is likely to make it more pronounced from early on.
Is lower back pain normal in early pregnancy?
Back pain in pregnancy can be a normal result of your body changing. It usually subsides with help and advice from your health care provider.
If you’ve previously had back problems, your muscles might not be as strong, so it’s especially important to support your back.
A support belt can help in these situations.
Is back pain a sign of miscarriage?
In popular TV shows and movies, back pain is often portrayed as a signal of miscarriage.
Rarely is backache on its own a sign of early miscarriage.
If you experience severe back pain, with cramping, and vaginal bleeding, see your health care provider immediately.
When should I worry about back pain during pregnancy?
Some mild back pain is to be expected as your baby grows and your body changes. But if you have severe back pain or pain that interferes with your daily life, ask your doctor for advice.
It can help to have some reassurance that what you’re feeling is normal.
Sometimes, though, it can be a sign things are not quite right.
These symptoms should definitely be looked into as soon as possible:
- Pain with vaginal bleeding. Cramping that comes and goes with backache, as well as vaginal bleeding or discharge can indicate miscarriage, premature labor, or placental problems, such as placental abruption
- Sudden pain, which is severe and without any apparent cause, or if you experience any kind of trauma, such as a car accident or a fall
- Fever. If not treated, urinary tract infections, bladder or kidney infections can cause serious complications, such as preterm labor. Pain in the lower back and sides, painful urination, blood in urine, and fever are signs to watch for
- Loss of feeling. If you lose feeling in one or both of your legs, or if you’re weak and not coordinated, you should contact your health care provider immediately.
Where does back pain occur in early pregnancy?
In the first trimester of pregnancy, you will usually experience back pain quite low down, at the top of your hips, and sometimes in the front of your pubic bone.
Seek medical advice from your health care professional on how to deal with pregnancy-related back problems.
Is back pain normal at 25 weeks pregnant?
As you move into your second trimester, backache could become more pronounced. Generally, it will feel more like aches and strained muscles.
Many pregnant women don’t know what to expect during this time, but your health care provider can advise you.
If you experience backache, speak with your doctor, just to check and put your mind at ease.
Back pain during pregnancy relief
While backache is something you might have to live with, there are several ways you can alleviate it.
As early as possible during pregnancy, make sure you’re eating a well-balanced diet to provide your body with essential minerals and vitamins.
Being physically active can also help prevent discomfort, but be careful not to exercise too hard.
What can I do to relieve back pain during pregnancy?
For relief of normal backache during pregnancy, try these 9 methods:
- Warm baths or showers often bring relief to tight, aching muscles
- A heating pad on the area can help; some people find cold compresses are more soothing. A quick search online can find a suitable one but check with your doctor to make sure you’re not applying too much heat or cold near the uterus.
- Back or belly devices can relieve pressure on your back, especially when you’re on your feet and moving around. Not all women find these useful
- Side-lying with a support pillow between your knees takes the pressure off your back
- A pregnancy massage or acupuncture treatment might help relax your body and relieve back pain. A good massage therapist will know how to soothe low back pain, work with pelvic pain, and soothe the discomfort of ligaments while working safely with your belly
- Pregnant women should search for an osteopath or chiropractor and ask for advice. Regular treatment can help. If your pelvis out of alignment, it can cause back pain. Osteopath Dr. Clare Gordon says, “An osteopath may help by releasing tension in areas that may be contributing to pain, making sure that the woman’s alignment is in the best position it can be”
- Improve your posture by standing tall, with shoulders back. Avoid wearing high heels, but make sure low-heeled shoes provide good arch support. Pregnant women find their center of gravity shifts, which can result in low back pain. Use back support when sitting, to keep your spine straight. Don’t slouch on the couch!
- Try to make sure you get enough rest every day. If you need to stand a lot, take sitting breaks and give your feet and lower back a rest by occasionally placing one foot higher than the other on a step stool
- Watch how you move. Squat or kneel to lower yourself to the floor or pick up large objects, rather than bend with straight legs. Weight gain during this time is likely to change how you sit and move. Try to stay fit and healthy to minimize this effect.
What is the fastest home remedy for pregnancy back pain?
Your care provider might recommend pain medicines. Before you take any medication, always check to make sure it is safe for use during pregnancy.
If you take steps to avoid back pain, and ease any symptoms as they appear, you will be able to enjoy your pregnancy as much as possible.
The good news is that most back pain is temporary, and will most likely disappear in the first few months after your baby is born.
Pregnancy back pain in the third trimester
Third trimester back pain is the culmination of so many body changes! This is often the time when your back will be most affected by these changes.
Always talk to your care provider if you have any concerns or worries about back pain during pregnancy.
Your doctor should be able to reassure you or let you know if something is likely to be a problem.