How To Manage Back Pain During Pregnancy

Most women will experience some form of back pain during their pregnancy. Being over weight or having a pre-existing back complaint will increase your chances of having back pain while you are pregnant. It is caused by several different issues, which is why it is so common. The hormones your body releases, particularly in the final weeks of pregnancy, to help your body soft in preparation for labour can mean that your back doesn’t have the support around the muscles that you are used to. Combine this with a shifted centre of gravity and the normal pregnancy weight gain (including around three kilos of baby in front of you) your back may start to protest.

There are safe ways to manage back pain during pregnancy, here are a few suggestions:

Day-to-day ways to minimise back pain

  • Do some regular pregnancy-approved exercises that will help strengthen your back muscles in preparation for the latter part of pregnancy, when things become a bit softer and you are carry the most weight.
  • Wear supportive footwear and avoid high heels once you start to show. Poorly supported feet will manifest as back pain so it is worth investing in a good quality, stylish pair of flats that you can wear to work, and on the weekends.
  • Squat, rather than bend, when picking things up off the floor. Another useful tool is a long pair of bbq tongs, these can do the reaching for you, in those final weeks when it is not possible to get down low.
  • During the day wear a support best under your bump, these are also helpful if you have pelvic instability. You can buy these from a physio therapist. At night, sleep on your side with a small pillow between your knees, this will take the pressure off your lower back.

To Ease The Pain

  • Panadol and Panadeine are both safe to take in pregnancy. Speak to your doctor if you are unsure.
  • A heat pack can be soothing to an aching back. Apply a heat pack for 15 – 20 minutes every three hours. Be sure not to overheat the heat pack so your core temperature is not elevated.
  • A warm bath can be very soothing, as can a swim as the water will give you a sense of weightlessness.
  • Consider booking yourself in for a pregnancy massage, or get a referral to a physiotherapist if the pain is very difficult to manage.
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