Especially in the later months of pregnancy, back pain can be a real problem for many pregnant women. As the baby continues to grow and your body adjusts to the increased demand for support, your back is often the casualty. Ligaments surrounding the uterus are stretching and expanding, you and the baby are gaining weight, and your center of gravity is shifting to accommodate these changes. All of these symptoms of pregnancy combine to form one heck-of-a-recipe for back pain in 2 million pregnant women every year
Holly Herman Cambridge, Mass.-based D.P.T. and author of How to Raise Children Without Breaking Your Back: A Body Manual for New Mothers and the Parents of Small Children (Ibis Publications), explains that during pregnancy, “…your uterus, normally housed in the pelvis, suddenly moves into your abdomen, putting a lot of stress on your lower and mid-back.” This affects your posture and puts a lot of pressure on your vertebrae.
So given that pregnancy is the source of the problem, is there even anything you can do until baby comes to get some relief?
The answer is a resounding YES!
It seems that since time began, plenty of pregnant women have been available to evaluate back pain remedies. The overall consensus is that consistent exercise will reduce back pain, as well as using a support to prop-up that growing belly of yours. But the key here is consistency. Find something that works for you, your schedule, and your routine, and STICK WITH IT! One week of exercise probably won’t give you much relief, and intermittently sleeping with a support pillow won’t prevent the painful tension in your back from developing on the nights you don’t sleep with it.
Here are some things you can do to try to alleviate your back pain during pregnancy.
Bird Dog: Start on your hands and knees, making sure your spine is neutral (not arched or rounded). Concentrate on keeping your core completely still as you extend your right arm ahead of you out to shoulder height while extending your left leg up behind you to hip height. Hold for 3 seconds, then return to starting position. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Complete 3 sets of 12 reps per side.
Ball Bridge: This exercise requires an exercise stability ball. Sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor directly beneath your knees, which should be bent to 90 degrees. Slowly walk your feet out until your shoulders and neck are supported by the ball and your hands can rest on the floor. Squeeze your glutes together while lifting your hips up to form a straight line between your legs and your pelvis. Hold for 10 seconds, and then lower. Complete 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.
Belly Support Band: These basically hold up your pregnant belly for you! You can find these in most stores or online for quite cheap. Get almost instant relief for your back, pelvis, and even legs by strapping on the belly band.
Good shoes: Really though, good shoes can make all of the difference in how your weight is distributed and absorbed. A good pair of supportive shoes can make a huge difference for your back as the impact is more evenly distributed. Avoid flats and flip flops, or make sure they have good arch support.
Sleeping pregnancy wedge: Since sleeping on your back and stomach is out, sleeping on your side can be another source of pain and tension as your belly pulls to the side. To combat some of the discomfort of sleeping when pregnant, prop up your belly on a pillow or pregnancy wedge so it doesn’t pull on your ligaments and cause pain. These come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and are all quite inexpensive as well. Some women swear these are the solution to all of their pregnancy woes, so it’s definitely worth a try!
Have any other suggestions to alleviate back pain during pregnancy? Any success stories or even horror stories? Please share with us and all of the other pregnant mamas trying to find some relief!