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What To Expect When You’re Expecting – Back Pain

Approximately half of the pregnant women in the world should expect to experience some kind of back pain during pregnancy which usually develops for one of two reasons. The first reason is merely the additional weight gain caused by being pregnant. The other reason is that the additional weight is being carried in the front which shifts their center of gravity forward and puts further strain on the back. In this case, the back muscles will need to work even harder in order to support the back.

Minimizing discomfort associated with pregnancy:

Exercise: Pregnant women should discuss the safety of abdominal and back strengthening exercises and how long they may continue with their regular exercise program with their doctors. One suggestion may be swimming which can relieve the stress on their backs caused by the added weight of pregnancy.

Lifting: Whenever possible, pregnant women should ask for assistance in lifting heavy objects so as not to cause further back pain or complications:
If they must lift something on their own, they should:
– kneel down on one knee keeping the other foot flat on the floor.
– kneel as close as possible to the object.
– lift with the legs, not the back.
– keep the object close to the body at all times.

Sleeping: It is not advisable to sleep on their backs as it puts approximately 55 lbs. of pressure on the back. Sleeping with a pillow under their knees will cut the pressure in half. It is advisable to sleep on their sides with a pillow between their knees.

Fortunately, most of the back pain associated with pregnancy will resolve. Pregnant women must not take any medication without permission from their doctors. Some treatment options are learning exercises that support back and pelvis muscles, the use of supportive garments, and the use of heat and cold remedies.

If back pain persists or they develop radiating pain, tingling, weakness, or numbness in their legs, pregnant women can consult a spine doctor who has experience with women’s health issues including pregnancy related disorders.

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