Back pain in pregnancy

Causes of pregnancy back pain

Lots of women experience some sort of back pain in pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. Usually, it’s due to the weight of your bump pulling forward on the muscles in your lower back. Also, as your body prepares itself for birth, your ligaments become softer than usual. This can make your pelvis ache, which you might also feel at the bottom of your spine.

back ache

Preventing backache in pregnancy

  • Posture - your posture is really important and can make all the difference to preventing back pain in pregnancy; when standing, imagine there’s a piece of string tied to the top of your head and it’s pulling you upwards, and try to keep your stomach and bum tucked in.
  • Sitting  - posture is important when you’re sitting and lying down, too; try not to slouch when you’re sitting. Supporting your back with a cushion should help.  
  • Sleeping - at night, lie on your side with a pillow between your knees to keep you in the right position. Also, use your arms to help push yourself up and support your bump – this will take a lot of strain off your back and help keep backache at bay.
  • Shoes - comfy shoes are also essential; some women prefer flat shoes, while others feel better with a bit of a heel. Just go with whatever’s comfortable for you.
  • Keeping yourself fit - can also help ease pregnancy backache. See if you can join any antenatal exercise classes in your area, such as aqua-natal or antenatal yoga classes. Even regular gentle swimming and walking can help.
  • Avoid lifting anything heavy - you’re already carrying a growing baby, so any extra loads will put even more strain on your body. If you really have to pick something up, always remember to bend from your knees, not your back and use your thighs to help you stand.

Treating backache

  • Support your bump – ease the strain on your back by sleeping on your side with a wedge-shaped pillow under your bump. If you’re really suffering, try wearing a special support belt during the day and speak to your midwife.
  • Hot or cold relief – a warm bath or hot water bottle can also help soothe backache, though some women prefer the cool relief of an ice pack (or a bag of frozen peas!).
  • Massage – a gentle massage can do wonders for relieving back pain in pregnancy but your normal massage oils may not be suitable for pregnant women, so check with an aromatherapist or your midwife first.

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