Tag Archives: pregnancy

Back pain and pregnancy

Do pregnant women who exercise during their pregnancy have less back pain?

Dr. Raul Artal, a professor emeritus in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and women’s health at Saint Louis University School of Medicine says, “Up to 60 percent of all pregnant women have some back pain. Women who engage in exercises to prevent low back pain experience less low back pain, and those who have it can engage in those exercised to ameliorate it.”

The reason women experience back pain during pregnancy is due to the curvature of the spine that results when the abdomen expands and alters a woman’s center of gravity.

“It’s a very common complaint,” says Dr. Artal.

However, strengthening the back and abdominal muscles can minimize the pain. A report from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says, “Despite the fact that pregnancy is associated with profound anatomic and physiologic changes, exercise has minimal risks and has been shown to benefit most women. Women with uncomplicated pregnancies should be encouraged to engage in physical activities before, during and after pregnancy.”

Exercises including walking, swimming, stationary cycling and other low-impact aerobics are deemed safe. Simple exercises like arching the spine back and forth like a cat on the floor, or standing with the back to the wall with knees bent and spine straightened can also help.


Postpartum back pain

Back pain is almost inevitable during pregnancy. The good news is that the pain usually diminishes within a few weeks after delivery. However, many start to see a return of back pain as you begin lifting and carrying your infant daily. As the baby grows in weight, you may see the back pain get worse.

Fortunately there are ways you can prevent back problems like modifying your activities and strengthening your spine.

  • When you are “cleared” to exercise, begin restoring your hip and back flexibility with light yoga or stretching. A great time to do this is during your baby’s nap tip.
  • To pick up your baby from the flood, bend at your knees, not your waist. Squat down, tighten your abs, and lift with your legs.
  • Don’t stretch your arms out to pick up your baby. Instead bring your baby close to your chest before lifting him/her.
  • To avoid back pain while breastfeeding, do not bend over your baby to breastfeed. Bring your baby to your breast. Place a pillow or two on your lap to bring the infant up close to you.
  • Consider using a “front pack” to carry your baby while walking.
  • Try not to carry your baby on your hip. This puts too much pressure on the back muscles.
  • Infant car seats are heavy. As you infant grows, consider fastening the seat into the car first, then bring your baby outside separately and strap him or her into the car seat.

Tips on how to handle back pain if you’re pregnant

Pregnancy can be a real pain in the back. For many, your back will never be the same. During pregnancy, your body releases relaxin, a hormone that loosens the joints and ligaments and eventually lengthens and softens the cervix in preparation for childbirth.

Sounds very unpleasant, right? Labor can also be difficult for your back, especially if the baby is positioned in a way that causes “back labor” or very intense lower back pain. This can be caused by the baby’s head pushing against the low back.

Then there’s chronic pain of carrying a baby, then a toddler for a few years.

If you have chronic back pain due to pregnancy, or you still have back pain after childbirth, check out these tips for relief:

  • Heating pad or hot compress.
  • Pregnancy pillows or physical therapy pillows that can redistribute weight in a way that makes lying down more comfortable.
  • Prenatal yoga or simple stretching.
  • Swimming or just being able to move your joints around in a weightless environment.
  • Magnesium via supplements or by adding dark, leafy greens and whole grains to your diet.

Woman with back pain shocked to learn she was pregnant

A British Columbian woman arrived at a hospital in Nanaimo, BC complaining of back pain. Hours later, she gave birth to the daughter she had been carrying for 9 months, to her complete shock.

Josephine Anglin, 20, said she had no idea she was pregnant. She told the doctor the pain in her back was like “being stabbed with a knife.”

After telling doctors there was no chance she was pregnant, the medical staff gave her a muscle relaxant and prescribed pain medication. Then urine test results came back positive for pregnancy, and Ms. Anglin was in disbelief.

Aside from modest weight gain, which she attributed to eating fast food and her husband’s recent accreditation as a chef – which meant he cooked at home more often – Ms. Anglin didn’t suspect a thing.

“I didn’t have any cravings, mood swings, anything that comes with pregnancy,” she said. “I just never really eat healthy.”

The following morning, Ms. Anglin gave birth to daughter Nevaeh – “heaven” spelled backwards. “She’s an angel”, said Ms. Anglin.

Source: National Post via http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/09/09/b-c-woman-with-back-pain-shocked-to-learn-she-was-pregnant-and-about-to-go-into-labour/?__federated=1

7 Tips for Back Pain Relief During Pregnancy

Do you have or know someone who has low back pain during pregnancy? Back pain during pregnancy isn’t surprising, but it definitely deserves attention. Consider these  7 tips for relief:

1. Practice Good Posture – as your baby grows, your center of gravity shifts forward. To avoid falling forward, you may compensate by leaning back, which can strain the muscles in your lower back. Keep these principles of good posture in mind:

  • Stand up tall and straight
  • Hold your chest high
  • Keep your shoulders back and relaxed
  • Don’t lock your knees

2. Get the Right Gear – wear low heeled, not flat, shoes with good arch support. You might also consider wearing a maternity belt.

3. Lift Properly – when lifting a small object, squat down and lift with your legs. Don’t bend at the waist or lift with your back. It’s also important to know your limits and ask for help if you need it.

4. Sleep On Your Side – don’t sleep on your back, sleep on your side. Keep one or both knees bent and consider using pregnancy or support pillows between your bent knees, under your abdomen and behind your back.

5. Try Heat, Cold, or Massage – Using a heating pad to apply heat to your back or try ice packs. Rubbing your back might also help.

6. Include Physical Activity in Your Daily Routine – regular activity can keep your back strong and might actually relieve back pain during pregnancy. With you doctor’s approval, try gentle activities such as walking or water exercise. You might also consider stretching your lower back. Rest on your hands and knees with your head in line with your back. Pull in your stomach, rounding your back slightly. Hold for several seconds, then relax your stomach and back, keeping your back as flat as possible. Gradually work up to 10 repetitions.

7. Consider Complementary Therapies – Some research suggests that accunpunture can help relieve back pain during pregnancy. Chiropractic treatment provides comfort for some women as well. Discuss these options with your healthcare provider.

Source: Mayo Clinic at http://www.mayoclinic.org/pregnancy/art-20046080