Bad Backs during Pregnancy

Image Pregnant woman relaxing on pier

During pregnancy there are many big and rapid changes that happen to a womans body. Many of these changes put new and different strains on various parts of her body.

These changes can be particularly challenging for a first time mother for their unexpected arrival and being in places you otherwise never paid attention to. One of the most common forms of pain during pregnancy is of course with the back, with up to 60% of women experiencing pregnancy-induced back pain.

Back pain is partially due to the growth of the baby where more support is needed to maintain a normal skeletal posture. Alongside the babies growth, a hormone called Relaxin is released during pregnancy which has its benefits in helping to loosen the ligaments in the pelvic area in preparation for birth.

But this also causes spinal ligaments to be loosened as well which results in increased discomfort, hence the rise in back pain.Because of this, it is important that women do what they can to reduce the pain they experience during pregnancy. This article will give tips and pointers in how to achieve this:

Posture during pregnancy

Having good posture is very important to distributing the weight of the body throughout the neck, shoulders and back.

A poor posture can put extra strain on certain areas more than others, often resulting in aches and pains throughout specific muscles in the back. A good posture means having your back straight and your shoulders relaxed.

It is important to maintain a good posture whilst both sitting and standing. Yoga can help with understanding what a suitable posture is.

Yoga during pregnancy

Image of Pregnant ladies doing Yoga

Yoga can be very useful for helping your back muscles and joints become stronger and more lengthened, as well as doing stretches that emphasise good posture. This is particularly useful in response to the effect of ‘relaxin’, with its ligament loosening properties.

Even just doing about 20 minutes a day can really pay off and help reduce back pain. Pregnancy is not the best time to be doing heavy lifting, as obvious as this is. Where heavy lifting creeps in is in everyday living tasks, such as shopping and carrying things around the home.

This can be just the normal stuff your used to do ever day, a bag of laundry or the vacuum cleaner, things that were done previously everyday without a second thought. Your body is already carrying extra weight which is only going to increase and Relaxin is working to loosen your ligaments in preparation for birth.

All these factors can suddenly creep up to a level resulting in a sudden and unexpected strain. Due to the extra weight and pressure on the back that is already present from the baby, any extra heavy lifting could result in a higher chance of pulling or overstraining a muscle.

However, if it does come to lifting any kind of object it is always important to lift with your legs as opposed to lifting with your back. This means that you should keep your back straight at all times. Bend and lift with your leg muscles while keeping your back straight. and then straightening your legs during the actual lift as if you are coming up from doing a gym style squat.

Maternity bra

It’s not just the weight of the baby that’s causing more work for your back, but as a result of swelling breasts in preparation for feeding the baby there is another source of potential back stress.

Maternity bras can offer more support for larger and heavier breasts throughout pregnancy by allowing a better distribution of weight and support in the upper half of the body. They are also highly adjustable to keep up with the growth of breasts throughout the nine months.

Swimming

It can be challenging to still maintain certain levels of exercise as the pregnancy continues. Swimming is a very easy, non-intense form of exercise that works and strengthens all muscles in the body. 

Being afloat and buoyant allows the bodies skeleton to relax being free of the weight it normally has to carry all the time. As a result of these strengthened muscles there will be more support for the back in carrying the weight of the baby, and will help in reducing the discomfort as a result.