Back Pain During Pregnancy: All You Need To Know
Especially if you're a first time mom-to-be, everything is a surprise. Anything can happen at any time. And almost everything excites you about the little bundle of joy growing inside you.
With all this excitement, there can be many side effects of pregnancy. Among them, is a nightmare that every pregnant woman dreads. Yes, you guessed it - it's back pain during pregnancy.
If you're in the second trimester of your pregnancy, you might be aware of the unbearable pain I am talking about. Unfortunately, some women feel this intense pain as early as the end of their first trimester.
Back pain during pregnancy is different for every woman. For some women, it is like normal back pain that does not bother them much. But in some cases, this never-ending backache makes your pregnancy more difficult.
The good news about back pain during pregnancy is that it can be easily resolved. There are many ways to treat it so you don’t need to worry. In this article, we have answered all your question.
|Related: Baby is on the way? check out these handy tips.
OK, let’s get started.
When does the back pain start in pregnancy?
If this is your first pregnancy, you may be wondering when does back pain start in pregnancy? In most cases, pregnant women begin to complain about back pain during their second or third trimester.
As you know, everyone's body is different, so every pregnant woman can have different pregnancy symptoms. Although back pain is a known symptom in later pregnancy, for some women it can also be an early symptom of pregnancy, starting after 4 to 6 weeks.
What can cause back pain in pregnancy?
Pregnancy is full of surprises and not only for first-time moms-to-be. Women who have already given birth can have different signs and symptoms during their next pregnancy. Similarly, there are different reasons for back pain during pregnancy.
The following is a list of the reasons that can cause back pain during pregnancy:
1. Hormonal changes during pregnancy
When you become pregnant, your body acts differently. It releases several hormones to prepare you for a healthy pregnancy. These pregnancy hormones also have different side effects.
To prepare you for delivery, the body releases a hormone called relaxin. The relaxin hormone softens and loses the joints and ligaments in your pelvis. Not only this, but they also affect other joints of your body. This softening of joints can cause serious back pain even during the first trimester. But it can help you to deliver your baby safely.
2. Stress during pregnancy
Stress and anxiety are not good for your health. Even if you are not pregnant, stress can seriously affect your health. It can tighten the muscles in the shoulder and back, which leads to muscle and back pain.
Mostly, stress targets the weak muscle areas of your body. In pregnancy, your body is in a weaker state, as the hormones loosen your joints, muscles and ligaments. Adding a bit of stress or anxiety during your pregnancy can ultimately result in back pain.
Emotional stress can also lead to muscle tension in the back that can cause pain. During pregnancy, you may notice that when you are stressed or sad, you experience intense back pain. You should try to keep your stress level low by involving in different fun activities.
3. A change in center of gravity during pregnancy
As your pregnancy progresses and your belly gets bigger, your center of gravity changes. When the center of gravity of your body changes your posture also shifts. This change in your posture also affects the way you sit, stand, sleep and move. Standing or sitting in the same position for too long, bad posture, and bending over can all trigger back pain in pregnancy.
4. Weight gain in pregnancy
In a healthy pregnancy, your baby is not the only one who is gaining weight. Your body is also changing as your baby and uterus grow inside you. A woman can gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. This increase in weight puts pressure on the blood vessels and nerves in the pelvis and back.
Your baby and the extra weight also lead to an increased burden on your spine. Your back is now supporting this increased weight. This can strain the muscles and cause lower back pain.
Women who are already overweight before pregnancy, are at higher risk of back pain during pregnancy.
5. Muscle separation
During pregnancy as your uterus expands, your rectus abdominis muscles, (two parallel sheets of muscles along your abdomen) separate along the center seam. This muscle separation also leads to back pain.
6. High heels and back pain
Every woman has her favorite pair of high heels that she wants to wear on every great occasion. But the sad truth is, you might have to forget about your favorite heels during pregnancy.
Want to know the reason? It’s back pain again.
High heels are specially designed to change your posture. It moves your pelvis forward to give a rounder shape to your back. You are going to gain a lot of weight in pregnancy and a little bit of change in your posture can result in back pain.
If you wear high heels during pregnancy, it puts extra pressure on your pelvis and joints in the back. In pregnancy, the ligaments in the legs and lower back are already weakened. So this pressure results in aches in the joints and ligaments of your pelvic area and lower back. Also, wearing high heels can result in an ache in your upper leg.
|Related: For more information on wearing high heels in pregnancy, check out Can you wear high heels when pregnant?
When do you need to contact your doctor?
Back pain in pregnancy is as normal as morning sickness. Most pregnant women have to face this problem during early or late pregnancy. It comes and goes on its own and sometimes you might need to take some painkillers.
But is back pain normal every time? How do you know if it’s time to see your midwife or doctor? During pregnancy, your body gives you different signals. These signals can tell you if your baby is fine inside you and if your baby is growing normally. Your back pain may also be trying to tell you something. Sometimes back pain is a sign of more serious problems like preterm labor, or a urinary tract infection.
Here are few symptoms of when to contact your doctor:
- If your back pain is accompanied by a burning sensation during urination, vaginal bleeding, or high fever, you might need to see your midwife or doctor. These are all the signs of vaginal infection.
- If your back pain is intense and intolerable you should talk to your doctor immediately. They will refer to an obstetric physiotherapist for its treatment. The physiotherapist will give you some advice or suggest any helpful exercise.
- Similarly, if the back pain comes and goes at regular intervals it might be a sign that you are in labor.
In any of these cases, you should contact your midwife or doctor as early as possible. Also, remember that you should not take any medication before asking your midwife or doctor.
Can back pain indicate miscarriage?
The main symptoms of a miscarriage are vaginal bleeding and pain in the pelvic area. You can experience back pain anytime during pregnancy because it is a side effect of carrying a growing fetus inside your womb. But sometimes back pain can also be a sign of early and late miscarriage.
When the fetus stops growing in the mother’s womb during late pregnancy, the muscles in the lower back start working to expel the unborn fetus. As a result, the mother might feel intense pain in her lower back. So if you are feeling any weird sensations immediately go to your doctor.
How can you minimize back pain during pregnancy?
If you want to prevent back pain during pregnancy, you should avoid
- excessive standing
- wearing high heels
- wearing other uncomfortable sandals
- standing or sitting with poor posture
The best remedies to minimize your back pain are
- using an ice pack for relief
- a prenatal massage
- chiropractic care (during all stages of pregnancy)
Prenatal massage and chiropractic care: Are they safe during pregnancy?
Prenatal massage therapy and chiropractic care are safe options for the first trimester of your pregnancy. Hire a professional, experienced massage therapist or chiropractor. This is because any mistake can be dangerous for both you and your baby.
Before selecting any therapist or chiropractor make sure you do some research on their certification. There are different certificates for different practitioners. Therefore, hire the one that has a specialization in your area of need. You can also hire a chiropractor for exercise and stretches.
Back Pain, though not wanted, can be managed during your pregnancy. Always speak with your health care provider before starting anything new, especially when you're pregnant, and especially if your back pain is intense or unbearable.