Back Pain in Pregnant Women - Causes and Solutions

Published: 10th February 2009
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Back pain in pregnant women is a frequent problem. As many as three quarters of expectant mothers experience back pain during some phase of their pregnancy. So, why does your low back hurt during pregnancy?

Pretty much, it can be reduced to changes in your body posture due to the stretching abdomen, and hormonal shifts.

Hormones cause the ligaments and tendons in the body to loosen in preparation for childbirth. Postural changes occur as your center of gravity changes. The muscles that surround your spine must work harder.

This article will explore the causes of back pain during pregnancy, discuss the different types of back pain that occur, and provide information about what can be done to prevent and relieve prenatal back pain.

There are two common types of low back pain in pregnancy, lumbar pain and posterior pelvic pain.

Lumbar pain is similar to the kind of back pain you may have experienced before you became pregnant. Lumbar discomfort is felt in the lower spine, at the level of, or slightly higher than, your waist. It can also result in pain that radiates to your legs.

Lumbar discomfort can be triggered by sitting or standing for extended periods of time or by repetitive lifting.

Posterior pelvic pain is low back ache that is experienced behind the pelvis, below the waist, and/or across the tailbone or sacrum. It can also be felt in the buttocks, on one or both sides, or in the back of the thighs. You may also have pubic pain. Posterior pelvic pain occurs four times more frequently than lumbar pain during pregnancy.

Posterior pelvic discomfort can be aggravated by bending, twisting, rolling, climbing stairs, and prolonged leaning forward such as occurs when you sit at a computer for extended periods of time.

Posterior pelvic pain is often mistaken as sciatica. When you have sciatica, it causes discomfort not only in the low back, hips, buttocks, and thighs, but also in the legs. With sciatica, the leg pain is generally more severe than the spinal pain, and is accompanied by numbness, tingling, or pin-pricking sensations. This aching and numbness generally radiates all the way into the toes. Numbness may also extend to the groin and genital areas.

Sciatica is generally caused by a herniated or bulging disk.

Your risk of low back pain during pregnancy increases if you have had back aches before becoming pregnant or during a previous pregnancy. You also have an increased risk of prenatal back pain if you are carrying twins or are overweight.

In order to maintain a healthy back during pregnancy, it is essential to engage in a regular exercise regimen. Exercise is essential for controlling and avoiding back pain. When your muscles are weak and inflexible, you are more likely to hurt. Regular exercise will stretch and strengthen your muscles and ligaments to better support your spine and prevent pregnancy back ache from occurring.

Specific exercises to alleviate low back pain during pregnancy include pelvic tilt exercises, Kegel exercises, back stretches, hamstring stretches, chest stretches, and wall squats. For detailed information on how to do these stretches and exercises, you can visit http://www.pregnancymomandbaby.com/backexercisesforpregnancy.html

Take extra care to be aware of how you bend and move. That alone can help prevent discomfort before it begins.

Back pain in pregnant women can be frustrating, for sure, but you can find relief. Be sure you are getting adequate rest, nutrition, and exercise, and you will be on the way to eliminating backaches for good.

If your back pain if very intense, is rhythmic and feels like menstrual cramps, or is causing numbness, you should contact your health care provider.
Orit Cox is a Holistic Health Practitioner and massage therapist in San Diego, CA and content writer for PregnancyMomandBaby.com, an information resource for pregnancy and mothers. Orit is also the author of The Pregnancy Pain Guide, featured at PregnancyPainRelief.com, where you can discover easy-to-implement techniques to relieve back pain from pregnancy.


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