In Depth Baby Product Reviews Led by a Pediatrician

Back Pain During Pregnancy

With your increased belly size and shifting joints some pain is inevitable
Back Pain During Pregnancy
Credit: Martin Novak ©
Friday October 18, 2019

At week 32, your body has undergone a significant change and forced adjustment to compensate for the additional weight gain required to host and nurture a growing fetus. These changes in your shape, joint elasticity, center of gravity, and limited internal space can result in aches and pains.

Sleeping propped up and eating small frequent meals might help with some pregnancy problems, but some pains aren't as easy to tackle. Other painful guests that might make an appearance are sciatica, sacroiliac pain, and pubic symphysis dysfunction. The weight of your uterus, amniotic sac, and the baby can put pressure on your tailbone, which is behind your uterus. Baby bones pressing on mommy's bones can result in discomfort. If you add hormones that help all your joints and ligaments to relax in preparation for birth, the pain can become unbearable.

Job one will be taking some pressure off your aching tailbone. If you work at a desk, you'll want to find an ergonomic chair or check out a donut pillow to take some weight off your pointy parts. Some moms-to-be make early use of their nursing pillows to sit on to relieve the stress. With a donut-type shape and soft cushioning, this product can double as a pregnancy prop and nursing assistant. Moving around can also help, and if you can, you should try to get up every few hours and take a short stroll. Alternatively, if you've been on your feet, take a break and let the barking dogs rest.

pillow comparisons
Pillow Comparisons
Credit: Megan Benedik

Low back pain might also become such a familiar friend that you'll feel like setting up a room for it to live. While some back pain is normal and expected with your new load, you should still tell your doctor about your pain since some kinds of back pain can be a sign of preterm labor. If your doctor thinks it isn't preterm labor, but more of the ordinary pregnancy fun, then it is likely just your growing uterus and hormonal changes causing your back troubles. With your shifting center of gravity and weaker abdominal muscles, your posture has changed, and this can put stress on your back. Once again, throw in those ligament-loosening hormones, and you have a perfect storm for feeling uncomfortable and unstable. These changes can lead to pain when standing, walking, rolling over in bed, bending, lifting, and even sitting. You might find some relief by stretching your back muscles by sitting with your ankles crossed and leaning over.

Reference Sources

  1. American Pregnancy Association - Week 32
  1. WebMD - Your Pregnancy Week by Week 31-34
  1. Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
  1. Expecting 411: The Insider's Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth

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