Are you an expecting mother, suffering from constant back pain? You’re not alone in this. Seven out of ten women experience back pain during their pregnancy days. You will hear this as a common complaint from most pregnant women, especially during their second and third trimesters. During the later stages of pregnancy, your uterus expands, shifting your centre of gravity. Adding to this, the extra weight gain and the hormonal changes conspire to cause back pain for pregnant women.
Between the fifth and seventh month of pregnancy, your uterus that normally resides in the pelvic area gradually moves into your abdomen. This puts a lot of stress on your lower and mid-back. Your body’s centre of gravity also shifts. Your abdominal muscles stretch out, putting a strain on your lower vertebrae and hampering your posture. The additional weight you put on during pregnancy, also puts extra stress on your joints, making your back feel worse.
Like every other change that happens during pregnancy, hormones play a role here too. Hormonal changes loosen your joints and relax the ligaments attached to your pelvic bones and spine. This makes you feel less stable, causing discomfort when you stand or sit for long hours, roll over in bed, or get out of a low chair.
More than two-thirds of pregnant women experience lower back pain. It usually starts during the second half of pregnancy and worsens as the pregnancy progresses. While back pain during pregnancy is to be expected, there are many ways to prevent the pain or to reduce its effects.
Some easy remedies for back pain caused during pregnancy are as follows:
1. Practice Good Posture
As the stomach expands, pregnant women tend to slump their shoulders and arch their back, putting a strain on the spine. As your body changes, standing straight will become difficult. But always keep your shoulders back and relaxed and chest high. While sitting, rest your feet on a footstool and use a small pillow to keep behind your back. When standing for a long period of time, rest one foot on a low step stool and try to take frequent breaks.
Meditation is a relaxing technique, which stimulates the brain to control its release of stress hormones. One can sit peacefully or lie down to focus on the breathing exercises, inhaling and exhaling deeply. This helps to soothe your tensed muscles and also help you to manage pain.
Your body might be telling you to lie down and curl up in your bed when experiencing painful bouts of back pain during pregnancy. But it can do more harm than good. Doing light physical activities like stretching exercises or even walking can help to get rid of your back pain.
Stretching exercises can increase the flexibility in your muscles that support your back and legs. Rest on your hands and knees with your head in line with your back. Pull in your stomach, rounding your back slightly. Hold for several seconds, and then relax your stomach and back — keeping your back as flat as possible. Gradually work up to 10 repetitions.
Pelvic tilts can ease lumbar pain by stretching and strengthening your muscles. Get on your hands and knees, with your arms, shoulder-width apart and knees, hip-width apart. Keep your arms straight, but don't lock your elbows. Slowly arch your back and tuck your buttocks under as you breathe in. Relax your back into a neutral position as you breathe out. Repeat three to five times at your own pace.
Before deciding on any sort of exercise routine, make sure you pre-approve it from your doctor.
4. Prenatal Massage
Indulging in regular prenatal massage not only helps to relieve back pain, but also alleviate depression and anxiety in pregnancy. Before getting a massage done, always consult with your doctor first.
In case of acute back pain, a certified prenatal massage therapist can provide quick relief, especially when the pain is caused by muscular clenching. This irritates nerves in the buttocks and legs, sending pain signals to the brain.
Swedish massage is the most common and advisable method of prenatal massage because it is gentle and soothing. Long, smooth strokes are used that won't aggravate the joints or push fluid through the body in an unhealthy way. A side-lying position is usually best advised to be comfortable during the massage.
5. Sleep on Your Side
Sleeping on your side can offer you some comfort. Keep one or both knees bent, and use a pillow between your legs. In the later stages of pregnancy, use another pillow to support your abdomen and behind your back.
Swimming helps to alleviate your back pain, as it strengthens your abdominal and lower back muscles. Essentially, when you're suspended in the water, gravity does not affect your body. This takes the pressure off your spine. Swimming will help decompress your spine and take the strain off your joints and ligaments. It will also keep your weight in check, and tone your legs, arms, back and core muscles. The deep breathing exercise also helps you relax emotionally.
7. Bending & Lifting Things
During pregnancy, make sure to avoid any twisting movements. When lifting any object, always squat down and lift things from a crouching position to minimize the stress on your back. Don't bend at the waist or lift with your back. In case of heavy things, ask for someone’s help.
8. The Right Shoes
As your body’s centre of gravity shifts, wearing high heeled shoes will make you less stable. They also create pressure on your lower spine and hip joints. So, high heels must be avoided during pregnancy days.
But wearing flats is also not the solution! Due to the loosening of ligaments, your feet might get wider in size. Flat shoes will leave you unsupported. Poor foot position can cause imbalance and pain to your legs and lower back. Hence, the answer lies in wearing low-heeled shoes with good arch support. The slight rise of the low heel helps to distribute the weight on your legs, easing the pressure on your hips and back.
9. Experiment with Temperature
Try heat or cold compress to get short-term relief from your back pain. You can use a heating pad or hot water bottle for your lower back. Soaking in a warm tub of water can also be relaxing. Ice packs might also help. Applying a towel-wrapped ice pack for 15 minutes slows down the pain signals sent to your brain.
Acupuncture is an East Asian medical technique, wherein very fine needles are inserted into specific pressure points on the body to alleviate pain. There is a direct positive correlation between acupuncture and pregnancy back pain relief. But first, consult with your doctor and then find a certified therapist.
In most cases, the back pain goes away after giving birth. But sometimes, it may persist for a few weeks even after delivery. This might be due to the change in hormone levels, or even bad posture during breastfeeding. Exercise, relaxing massage, or a warm soak in the bath can help to alleviate post-partum back pain.
Mommy Cuddle offers Diaper Backpack in India which can help new mothers to manage their back pain. Stylish, durable and travel-friendly, this diaper bag weighs only 600 grams. Carried like a backpack, it evenly distributes the weight on your shoulders, putting less stress on your back muscles. It is comfortable, as well as fashionable.
We hope new mothers find relief to their post-partum back pain by using the Diaper Backpack in India from Mommy Cuddle.
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