Pregnancy is a joyous time. But as the baby growing inside you changes your center of gravity, you become more prone to back pain or injury. If you have a previous history of back problems, your back pain may get even worse during pregnancy. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to stay in shape, minimize stress on your back, and prevent unnecessary back problems.
Although reports show that about 50 percent of all pregnant women experience some level of back pain, being overweight (extra pounds not pregnancy related) puts you at higher risk for back problems. If you were overweight before becoming pregnant, now isn’t the time to try to shed pounds. Instead, focus on gaining fewer pounds (no more than 15 to 20 pounds) throughout your pregnancy.
Moderate exercise is key to burning calories and easing back pain. It’s important to keep moving as not getting enough physical activity can lead to loss of flexibility and strength, which can mean an increase in pain. However, talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program to make sure the exercise you choose is safe for you.
Getting Treatment for a Misaligned Spine
A misaligned spine due to changes in posture, increased back curve, or your protruding belly can cause back pain. While it’s normal for your back to curve forward to accommodate the extra weight you have in front, the change can bring on lower back pain. When looking for relief, some women find chiropractic care during pregnancy helpful.
Spinal and pelvic misalignment during pregnancy also can lead to intrauterine constraint, which limits the amount of space in the uterus your developing baby has for movement. This may prevent your baby from moving into a head-down position for birth.
Chiropractic treatment can reduce stress on the pelvis, relaxing the uterus. A relaxed uterus makes it easier for a baby in the breech position to turn.
Whether the discomfort you feel is a dull ache or a sharp pain, strained muscles that surround the spine often are the cause. The other kind of stress (the anxiety kind) can cause back pain as well.
When you’re stressed, you may tense your back muscles. Tense muscles can trigger low back pain or make pain you already have worse. It isn’t easy, but you need to try to avoid situations you find stressful or find ways to lessen the negative impact stress has on you. Deep breathing, listening to music, and meditation can have a calming effect on frayed nerves.
Strengthening Weak Muscles
Existing wear and tear on the spine can increase your risk of back pain during pregnancy; therefore, you need to exercise to strengthen the muscles of your back. Since abdominal muscles that support the spine stretch and weaken when you’re pregnant, exercises to strengthen your abdominal and back muscles can help alleviate persistent back pain. Along with the chiropractic therapies you receive, your chiropractor may teach you exercises you can do on your own at home.
Even though you carry your baby in the front of your body when you are pregnant, your back muscles help support the added weight. Strength training exercise while you are pregnant should focus on stretching the calf muscles and muscles of the lower back.
The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy also make the ligaments and joints in the pelvic region looser. What’s worse is loose ligaments can lead to nagging low back pain. A doctor or chiropractor (such as one from Fish Creek Chiropractic) may recommend wearing a support belt under your abdomen.