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Backache in pregnancy is common, particularly during the final three months. It is caused by the ligaments in your back stretching and becoming looser as your body prepares for labour. As a result the joints in your lower back and pelvis can become strained which causes some discomfort.
Whilst common in the latter stages of pregnancy, backache in early pregnancy can also be experienced, with those who have had children in the past more susceptible. You are more likely to experience pain in subsequent pregnancies since your abdominal muscles are more flexible, having been weakened from the last pregnancy. Weakened abdominal muscles requires the lower back to take on more work which can cause pain.
A pregnancy support belt will help to relieve back pain. These lift the weight of your growing abdomen and ease the pain in your back, abdomen or legs.
It is important to protect your back if you are to avoid back pain during pregnancy. Make sure that you take the following precautions whenever possible.
Avoid lifting heavy objects
Keep your back straight and bend your knees if you want to pick something up from the floor
Avoid twisting your spine when you turn around, turn your feet instead
Avoid wearing shoes with heels as flat shoes distribute your weight more evenly which is kinder to your back
Choose work surfaces that are the right height for you as you should not have to stoop as you work
If you are carrying shopping, put it into two bags and carry one in each hand so that the weight is distributed evenly
Keep your back straight when you are sitting and avoid slouching.
Rest as much as you can, particularly in the final trimester of pregnancy
Firm mattresses are a must during pregnancy and will help to relieve back pain. Place a piece of hardboard under your mattress if you think it is too soft. Regular massage will also help to relieve the pain.
Gentle exercise will ease backache in pregnancy. Exercises that strengthen your stomach muscles help because a stronger abdomen will relieve some of the weight of your pregnancy from your back.
Try this exercise:
Begin on all fours, in a box position, with your knees below your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Your fingers must face forward. Use your abdominal muscles to lift your spine in order to keep it straight.
Now pull your tummy muscles in, curling your back up to the ceiling, rather like a cat arching its back. Allow your head to relax towards the floor. It is important not to lock your elbows.
Hold this position for a few seconds and then return to the box position. Do not allow your back to hollow but keep it straight.
Repeat this exercise 10 times, at a slow and rhythmic pace. Move your back carefully and stop if it becomes uncomfortable.
For more information take a look at this video online.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence or NICE, advises that massage therapy, exercise in water and private or group classes for back care during pregnancy are all safe ways to ease back pain when pregnant.
Aquanatal classes are provided by some local authorities at health centres across the county. These are exercise classes, especially for pregnant women, which take place in a swimming pool with fully qualified trainers. Exercising in water in this way is particularly good for the back because the water supports your weight so that your back does not have to.
Prevention is better than cure with back pain in pregnancy. Remember to take care of your back when bending or lifting, to use gentle abdominal strengthening exercises and to wear a pregnancy support belt.