How To Prevent Back Pain During Pregnancy01 March, 2017
Struggling with back pain during pregnancy? You are not alone.
Back pain is one of the most common complaints during pregnancy – up to three quarters of pregnant women will experience it at some point! And it’s no surprise. Your body is going through all kinds of changes. The combination of gaining weight, posture changes, muscle imbalances and hormones relaxing your ligaments is a lot for the body to cope with! Despite this however, back pain during pregnancy should not be accepted as something you have to live with. There are lots of things you can do to manage it!
Why is back pain during pregnancy so common?
As your baby grows and your bump gets bigger, your centre of gravity shifts further forward, causing your posture to change. Most notably, your low back tends to develop a deep curve. This causes increased pressure on the joints and muscles. It is not just the low back however, these postural changes can also contribute to upper back or neck pain.
The Role of Hormones During Pregnancy
Pregnancy hormones are released, including the hormone relaxin. This causes your ligaments to – you guessed it – relax. This is necessary to allow the pelvis to expand and create room for your growing baby. However this loosening can cause instability, requiring your muscles to work harder.
What About my Core Tummy muscles?
The abdominal and core muscles are increasingly stretched. When your core muscles are weak, more pressure is put on the low back. Carrying a lot more weight than you are used to will also cause the muscles to fatigue quickly. This is why you may feel tired and achy when standing for any length of time.
So what can I do about it?
Chiropractic care is great for relieving back pain during pregnancy and preventing ongoing problems post-partum. It is completely safe and very beneficial, in some cases it may help to make for an easier delivery! By establishing spinal and pelvic alignment with gentle adjustments and mobilisations and reducing muscle tension we can help to ease discomfort.
Exercise and Fitness
Having a good level of fitness prior to pregnancy usually decreases the chances of back pain occurring, which is important to keep in mind if you are planning a pregnancy. However for those of you already pregnant, do not despair, it’s never too late to start exercising!
When it comes to back pain it is important to stay active! That being said, if you weren’t particularly active prior to your pregnancy, now is not the time to start strenuously exercising. There are several forms of exercise which will help with low back pain during pregnancy and maintain your core muscles and overall strength. Swimming, aquanatal classes, pregnancy yoga and Pilates are just some of the activities that are great for you to take part in.
Modify Your Lifestyle with 5 Top Tips
There are also lots of small lifestyle changes you can try that will make a difference. Just take a look at my top tips below!
Wear comfortable, supportive shoes. Sorry to all you high heel lovers out there! Wearing a high heel only increases stress on the low back so those favourite stilettos may need to stay in the wardrobe for a while.
Sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees. Sleeping on your side is the optimal sleeping position while pregnant and a pillow between the knees prevents your top leg from twisting across your body. Thus keeping your spine in a neutral position. You may want to place a pillow under your tummy also to support your bump
Improve your posture. (What kind of chiropractor would I be if I didn’t stress the importance of good posture?!). Yes, all that nagging you heard as a teenager – ‘sit up straight!’, ‘’stop slouching!’ – was actually useful advice. Try to avoid over-arching the low back, keep your upper back straight, your shoulders back and relaxed down. Finally, ensure your neck is in line with your shoulders rather than sticking out.
Try to avoid staying in one position for more than 20 minutes. This is important to keep the body mobile and prevent muscle fatigue. Whether you’re sitting at a desk or sat on the sofa having a cup of tea, changing positions or taking breaks little and often is essential.
Bend with your legs, not your back! Be careful when bending or lifting that you back is kept straight and you are bending from the knees, as though doing a squat. This is especially important to keep in mind if you already have a little one to take care of!
By Dr Emma Kenton DC, MChiro, Registered Doctor of Chiropractic
If you would like to try chiropractic to help with your pregnancy aches and pains, book a consultation today by Clicking Here or calling 0203 151 2345