It’s not unusual to experience back pain while pregnant. Added weight that throws off the center of your gravity and hormonal changes that relax ligaments that support your lower spine are some of the reasons why this happens. It’s not entirely possible to prevent all instances of spine-related aches and pains while pregnant. However, there are some things you can do to ease the discomfort that typically becomes noticeable during the second half of pregnancy.
1. Be Mindful of Your Posture
As your baby grows, your spine’s natural alignment will shift. Compensate for these adjustments by paying attention to your posture. When sitting, make an effort to keep your shoulders back and relaxed. When standing, adopt a wider stance for added support. Also, avoid tilting your pelvis forward or backward, take a break from high heels, and put one foot on a low stool if you have to stand for long periods of time.
2. Become a Side Sleeper
According to the American Pregnancy Association, the best sleep position during pregnancy is on the side. In addition to allowing more nutrients to get to your baby, this position also eases stress on your spine. Support pillows between your bent knees and under your abdomen or behind your back can also be helpful.
3. Continue with Regular Exercise
With your doctor’s approval, continue with exercise while pregnant as much as possible. Doing so will prevent the muscles that support your spine directly or indirectly from becoming too strained or weak. You may not be able to vigorously exercise. However, most forms of exercise can be safely done during pregnancy in moderation. Exercise can also promote overall relaxation, which is also good for your spine. Specifically, you may benefit from:
- Yoga, Pilates, and other controlled movement disciplines
- Lower back stretches
- Low-impact aerobics
- Swimming and other water-based forms of exercise
- Stationary cycling
4. Wear a Maternity Support Belt
While there isn’t significant research on the effectiveness of support belts, they can take over the role of the abdominal muscles that normally ease stress on your spine. Basically, what such belts can do is spread out your baby weight in your midsection and take some of the burden off your lower back. Maternity belts can also be worn at work, which may help with maintaining a better posture.
Applying heat or cold to the affected area when you do experience back pain can ease inflammation and improve circulation. If such efforts aren’t providing sufficient relief, or if pain gets worse, an orthopedic specialist may be able to determine why and suggest more specific treatment options. You may also be referred back to your doctor for further evaluation if issues with your pregnancy may be contributing to your back pain.