Women often experience back pain during pregnancy, just like they do most other body changes during that time, such as an increased risk of having preterm labor and a possible increased risk of miscarriage (risk is also greater for those who deliver via c-section). In fact, lower back pain during pregnancy is one of the least common reasons that women seek medical attention. While many things can cause back pain, pregnancy is one of the few instances where the pain can be associated with a medical condition.
The most common mechanism for back pain is hormonal changes. Most women undergo hormonal changes before conception. The increase in estrogen that occurs at this point makes the uterus more relaxed, giving way to vaginal contractions. During the first trimester, the amount of estrogen available to the fetus is so great that the placenta is unable to provide protection. This lack of protection allows the fetus to dig into the uterus causing major trauma. As the baby continues to grow in the uterus, the level of estrogen available to it also decreases, resulting in a decreased likelihood of preterm labor.
The mostzserious complication from low back pain during the first trimester occurs when a woman has a c-section. During this procedure, the placenta is removed too early, which results in excessive bleeding into the uterus and nearby areas. Because of this, the fetus continues to grow, and eventually causes the uterus to rupture. If not treated quickly, the resulting scarring and damage to the surrounding structures could result in miscarriage, stillborn or even premature birth.
To help relieve the discomfort, try doing back exercises during your pregnancy. Targeted abdominal exercises are especially helpful. These exercises can be performed before you eat, right after you eat or right after you go to bed. Doing these exercises several times a day will help relieve the symptoms and help you get rid of some of your pain.
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Some women find relief by sleeping on their left side, using a low-heeled stroller or by keeping their legs elevated. Keeping one or both legs elevated keeps the muscles in the pelvis and thighs stretched and strengthens the ligaments between them. Elevating the legs helps stretch and elongate the muscles, which reduces the pain. Keeping your buttocks slightly elevated also helps relieve some of the pressure on your lower back.
Other ways to keep your spine healthy include having regular massages and use of a low-impact aerobic routine. Exercises that stretch the muscles in the lower back and abdomen strengthen these muscles and stretch prevent them from becoming tight and stiff. Strengthening the abdominals can also help relieve pain in the pelvis, buttocks and legs because it stabilizes your spine and improves its health in general.
If none of these remedies to relieve your pain, then your best choice is to see a licensed physical therapist or chiropractor. A licensed physical therapist can use their expertise to encourage proper nutrition, which promotes healing and prevents the onset of joint problems such as osteoarthritis. If you choose to treat the pain naturally, start by drinking plenty of water, reducing your stress levels and getting plenty of exercise. Eat a well-balanced, low-calorie diet, eliminate trans fats, salt and sugar. These changes will go along way toward keeping your hormones balanced, which will also help to eliminate back pain during pregnancy.
If your pain persists or gets worse, you should see a licensed physical therapist or chiropractor. If the pain is severe, your doctor may recommend spinal manipulation or osteopathic therapy. Spinal manipulation relieves pain in the joints and discs but should be done only under the supervision of a medical practitioner. Osteopathic therapy targets the underlying cause of pain and has been shown to be effective in reducing pain symptoms. For moderate to severe pain, your doctor may recommend physical therapy, prescription medicine, or a combination of the two.