Changing hormones, stretching ligaments and a changing body can all contribute to back pain. Midwife Pippa Hime looks at why back pain is so common in pregnancy and what you can do to alleviate it.
Relaxin is one of the pregnancy hormones which allow for all your ligaments and tendons to stretch out in response to your growing baby. This can affect your back as strain is placed on the joints of the lower back and pelvis. There’s an old saying that says, “prevention is better than cure” and this couldn’t be truer when it comes to your back. It is best to avoid any extra strain in pregnancy.
Try these tips to prevent back pain in pregnancy:
- Avoid lifting or moving anything heavy
- Bend from the knees and not your back when picking up things
- Wear sensible, comfortable shoes
- Make use of support pillows in bed, especially one between your knees
- Use a back support on your office chair.
What can I do if my back is sore?
- You can try to rest it. Try not to overexert yourself during your pregnancy. Stop and rest when you are tired.
- Take a warm bath. Warm water helps to soften and relax the muscles.
- Use a hot pad on the area. Using a warming bean bag, a hot water bottle or a hot pad works to relieve muscle tension.
- Have a massage. Make sure you go to someone who is trained in pregnancy massage and knows which oils are safe.
- See a physio or chiropractor with an interest in pregnancy to catch any back niggles before they worsen.
When to worry?
- Consider seeking medical attention if you start to experience back pain in your third trimester that comes and goes in your third trimester. This could be the start of early labour.
- If you experience back pain accompanied by hot or burning urine. This can be a sign of a urinary tract infection. You will need to get this treated with antibiotics.
- If the pain worsens or you experience any numbness then it’s best to get it checked by your doctor.
Pippa is a Registered Professional Nurse and trained as a Registered Midwife at Chris Hani Baragwanth Hospital. She has extensive experience in all things baby related with a special interest in preparing couples for the exciting journey of parenthood as well as supporting them in the weeks that follow the birth. She and her husband Richard are the proud parents of Becca age 6 and Tom age 4. Pippa has a comprehensive private clinic service that includes Childbirth Education classes, a Well Baby Clinic including Immunization as well as Post Natal and Lactation support. With over 5 years of running a private clinic facility and raising 2 children Pippa comes with a wealth of knowledge and first-hand experience of parenthood. Learn more about Pippa Hime