Problems Associated With Pregnancy

Pregnancy and Back Pain

The joy of preparing for a new baby is diminished for many women by persistent back pain during pregnancy, causing stress and frustration due to the lack of relief available. For this reason, it is important to know as much as possible about why you may be experiencing back pain as well as effective alternatives to taking pain-reducing drugs.

How common is back pain during pregnancy?

During pregnancy a woman’s body changes dramatically. Pregnancy is a time of constant change in preparation for the new and growing baby. Postural changes, increased weight gain and the ligaments becoming more stretched are a normal progression of pregnancy and can often be the cause of pain and discomfort in expectant mothers. Almost half of all pregnant women experience back pain during pregnancy.

What causes back pain?

There is no single cause to explain back pain during pregnancy, however, postural and hormonal changes do contribute to the problem.

The most common postural changes are due to the bulk of the growing baby, the enlarging breasts and secondary weight gain.

Hormones released during pregnancy, particularly oestrogen and progesterone, cause softening and relaxation of the ligaments and joints making them more prone to injury and pain.

What are the symptoms?

Common symptoms can include low back pain, pelvic and pubic joint pain, leg and hip pain and pain in the ribcage, shoulder girdle, and neck. Headache and migraine, heartburn and numbness in the arms and legs are also common symptoms.

Can it be treated?

A range of techniques suitable for the pregnant woman are used to provide comfort and pain relief. This, along with muscle relaxation techniques, education about the best positions to adopt to support your back, muscle strengthening exercises, sleeping advice and the use of a pelvic support belt, if needed, provide excellent support to help you accommodate the changes your body is undergoing.

How can I prevent lower back and pelvic pain?

Posturally, it is vital to keep upright and straight. As there is added weight on the body, tasks like gardening, vacuuming and lifting need to be done gently and with caution.

Making a few simple everyday changes can help to keep back pain to a minimum.

Do Not Do
  • Accept back pain as normal
  • Carry children whilst doing household chores
  • Wear tight clothing which may restrict normal joint movement
  • Wear high heels
  • Consult your chiropractor as needed
  • Keep a straight back when standing for a long time
  • Continue to gently exercise
Pregnant woman in a red and white stripy top