Pregnancy back pain typically starts from the time the uterus starts growing and generally continues till the entire duration of the pregnancy tenure. It mostly happens where the pelvis meets the spine, at the sacroiliac joint.
Some common causes of backaches are:
- Unprecedented weight gain in nine months; anything between 25 to 35 pounds
- Posture changes during pregnancy and so does the mother’s centre of gravity. This may result in back pain or strain.
- Hormonal changes; the body makes a hormone called relaxin that relaxes the ligaments in the pelvic area and loosens the joints, preparing them for the birth process.
Relaxin can cause ligaments that support the spine to loosen, leading to instability and pain.
- Emotional stress can cause muscle tension in the back, back pain or back spasms. You may find that you experience an increase in back pain during stressful periods of your pregnancy.
Some ways in which backaches can be reduced are as follows:
- Good posture: Avoid leaning back as this would strain the muscles in the lower back and cause back pain. Instead, stand up straight and tall, hold the chest high, keep shoulders back and relaxed, and do not lock knees.
- Discontinue wearing high-heeled shoes and very flat shoes. Once can also opt for a maternity support belt.
- Sleep on the sides, and not on the back. Keep one or both knees bent. Use support pillows between bent knees, under the abdomen, and behind your back.
- While lifting heavy objects, squat with the legs bent outwards and then pick up heavy objects, rather than bending over and arching the back.
- Using a cold or warm compress, ice packs or heat pressure can also soothe pain and relieve the mother from aches and suffering.
- Incorporating regular physical activity or exercises can help pregnant women stay fit and tide over backaches more easily. Women can use stretching exercises, prescribed by the doctor, to reduce backaches.
- Acupuncture and acupressure is also known to cure and back pain in some cases
If back pains are severe and refuse to go, then a doctor must be contacted. If the pain is too severe, or there are rhythmic and chronic cramping pains, then also a doctor’s advice must be sought.
In rare cases, back pain may be related to problems such as pregnancy-associated osteoporosis, vertebral osteoarthritis, or septic arthritis.
Rhythmic pains may also be a sign of pre-term labour. Hence, one should not delay contacting a doctor if symptoms of backache seem to go out of hand. Never use any medicine without consulting a doctor beforehand.