Aches and pains can be par for the course during pregnancy, and most women at some point will cope with back or abdominal pain related to an increasing belly size and shifting body weight. While you can't avoid all pain, you can help or soothe pain to a certain extent depending on the cause, and it can be helpful to try some simple remedies to improve your overall comfort.
The round ligaments that surround your uterus and pelvis do a lot of growing and stretching during pregnancy so it is no wonder they can cause pain or trouble. Add changing hormones to the mix, and you have the perfect storm for pain in your abdomen. These ligaments stretch and thicken to help support your growing uterus this can cause a shift in your posture or the way you hold yourself while walking or standing. These minor alterations, coupled with a burgeoning belly, can result in unwanted back pain that could leave you struggling to find a comfortable, pain-free position.
While you can't affect all discomfort that comes with pregnancy, you can help mitigate some of these problems by incorporating some exercise and lifestyle changes into your routine.
- Avoid staying in bed for prolonged periods as it can increase back pain
- Practice proper posture and stand up straight. If this is difficult, try holding your shoulders back while keeping your rear end tucked. Avoid slumping at your desk and support your lumbar region with a lumbar pillow
- Avoid standing or sitting for too long
- Avoid activities that make the pain worse
- Skip the heels. It is not the time to show off your shoe collection, and you are at a higher risk of falling with your shift in gravity
- Get your partner to do the heavy lifting and the mopping and vacuuming, so you can avoid twisting movements that cause pain
- Sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees or use a unique pregnancy pillow to support your different growing parts. This sleeping style will help relieve the pressure on your lower back during the night, so you don't feel the after-effects during the day.
Always check with your caregiver before you start an exercise program. Some women are unable to exercise due to other risk factors, so it is important to get the okay before you begin.
- Try strength exercises for your back and legs that help build muscle to support your growing body
- Try slow stretching exercises for your back and legs to increase flexibility and avoid strain or injury
- Try prenatal yoga to keep limber and improve your balance
- Swimming and water aerobics are great for strengthening the abdominal and low back muscles. The water helps to support your body and takes the strain off your joints and ligaments. Research suggests that water exercise can greatly decrease back pain in pregnant women
- Low impact walking is a great addition to your daily routine. Pace yourself and start slow if you weren't exercising before pregnancy
- Be sure to read up on exercises that are not a good idea for pregnant women, like laying on your back, lifting weights above your belly where they might injure you, and getting up too quickly
- Be patient and listen to your body, go slow. Remember you are trying to decrease pain, not cause injury.
- Pay close attention to your body position and mechanics. If you are uncertain, seek advice and assistance from a pro.
Sometimes using a few aids might make pregnancy, and the ailments that go with it, more comfortable to tolerate. While you might be tempted to use the old heating pad, you should consider more natural products that cannot overheat to avoid getting too hot, which is not suitable for baby or you. The Bucky compact wrap and the Bucky Neck and shoulder wrap are both heated in the microwave and relax to the shape of your body. If you're feeling old fashioned there is nothing wrong with going old school with a nice warm bath with Epsoak Epsom Salt and a Fashy Transparent Classic Hot Water Bottle with a Home Top Hot Water Bottle Knit Cover.
- American Pregnancy Association - Back Pain During Pregnancy
- Mayo Clinic - What causes round ligament pain?
- WebMD - Back Pain in Pregnancy