Back Pain During Pregnancy: Even though pregnancy is a thrilling and miraculous time, it is also one that is fraught with discomfort. Many women experience a variety of symptoms such as frequent urination, indigestion or heartburn. Back pain during pregnancy is another discomfort you will have to put up with but there are ways you can help to alleviate it.
Causes Of Low Back Pain During Pregnancy
Low back pain during pregnancy is a common problem. There are a number of conditions that can cause this symptom and this article is by no means all-inclusive.
Perhaps the most common cause is simply the weight of the pregnancy particularly in the third trimester creating a strain on the back muscles and ligaments used to maintain your body stature. This is often seen more in women who have had one or more prior pregnancies as the supportive structures are loose and more likely to cause pressure on nerves innervating the lower back and pelvis.
Assuming the pain is constant and has not been attributed to other problems (some of which are yet to be discussed), the use of belly bands or maternity support belts can be very effective in addressing the problem as they lift the weight of the pregnancy off of the lower pelvis and transmit the weight in such a way as to alleviate the strain on the back muscles and ligaments.
Another cause of low back pain during pregnancy, though less common, can be a symptom of a kidney infection. This can be seen most commonly after the first 15 to 20 weeks during which time the ureters leading to the bladder can be blocked by the uterus at the level of the pelvic brim. This blocks urinary flow to the bladder and can cause stasis of urine and increase the potential for a kidney infection (pyelonephritis). This is a problem that must be diagnosed and treated promptly as kidney infections can cause premature labor.
Kidney stones is yet another problem that can cause low back pain and is determined by your primary care provider based on your symptoms, medical history and physical findings.
Though all of the previously discussed causes of low back pain can be serious and cause significant discomfort the one cause of low back pain that is very important to recognize and not overlook is contractions. The low back pain relating to contractions is likely to have a regular, intermittent pattern unlike the other causes and is best evaluated by monitoring uterine activity with a uterine monitor for contractions. Causes for contractions prematurely can relate to dehydration, kidney infections, fibroids or have no defined cause. Regardless of the cause this is one cause of back pain that cannot be ignored.
Though there are other less common causes of low back pain during pregnancy the conditions mentioned above are the most common.
To best avoid low back pain during pregnancy, lift heavy items with caution and maintain posture as best you can. Keep well hydrated at all times particularly during the hot weather as dehydration occurs often during pregnancy if one does not make a conscious effort to drink eight to ten glasses of water a day. Prenatal visits are designed to pick up signs of bladder infection as prenatal care patients have their urine checked at each visit.
If there are no serious medical problems detected leading to the onset of low back pain during pregnancy and the symptom is determined to be due to the weight of the pregnancy, perhaps the absolute best thing you can do to prevent or alleviate low back pain and ligament pressure is to use a maternity belt. I have seen patients experience a tremendous amount of relief with maternity belts. It used to be that such belts were hard to find but with the resources available online this is no longer a problem.
What You Can Do at Home and at Work To Avoid Back Pain During Pregnancy
Getting plenty of rest on a firm mattress will help to ease back pain during pregnancy. Good posture and eating a healthy diet will go a long way as well. If your job demands that you sit for long periods then you should find out about ergonomic chairs that will help you to sit up straight. You may also want to look into ergonomic keyboards for your computer as well. Often the company will pay for this, but if not, you will find the investment was well worth it as it will ease the worst of the pain.
If you have to stand up for long periods of time be sure you take frequent rests so that pressure is taken off your legs and back. If you routinely participated in an exercise routine before becoming pregnant, keep at it though you may want to take it at a lighter pace. Walking or swimming is an excellent choice for exercise when you are expecting and can do a lot to ease back pain during pregnancy.
If you must lift objects no matter how heavy, be sure that you utilize the proper lifting techniques. Avoid lifting heavy objects. Ask your partner to do it for you while you are pregnant even if you think you can do it on your own.
Read Also: Heartburn and 10 ways to get rid of it
Those that experience back pain during the earlier part of their pregnancy can take heart as it will usually dissipate during the twentieth week or thereabouts. If you are experiencing severe or chronic back pain during pregnancy, be sure to speak to your health care advisor as there may be more going on than just pregnancy symptoms.
Later in the Pregnancy
As the baby grows rapidly and your uterus becomes enlarged, back pain will be plaguing most women at the end of their pregnancy. If you have younger children at home, avoid lifting them too often if at all. If you must, be sure you squat and then bend at the knees and do the lifting with your legs. Noting when your back pain becomes most discomfiting can also help you to make some changes during certain activities that can relieve the worst of it.
You may not be able to utilize common back pain medication during your pregnancy, but you can ask your health care provider for some tips for managing back pain during pregnancy.
Before you know it the baby will be born and all the discomforts you experienced during the long weeks of pregnancy will quickly be forgotten. A little back pain as compared to the beautiful babe you hold in your arms will be well worth it.