Backpain in pregnancy is very common, occurring in 50-80% of women.1 It usually occurs between the fifth and seventh months of pregnancy but can occur earlier.1 Women with pre-existing lower back problems are at a higher risk of back pain during pregnancy.
You’ll understand why backpain is so common as you read on.
If you’re already pregnant, you’ll probably feel like you no longer have control over your body – it seems like it’s got a mind of its own. Rest assured, it’s normal. It’s just nature doing everything possible to prepare your body for a safe and healthy birth. One of those big changes is releasing a range of hormones designed to relax the ligaments and joints in the pelvic area, so everything becomes more supple in readiness for the big day.1-.3
Of course, there’s also no escaping weight gain, after all, you do have another person onboard. Your spine, especially the lower back (lumbar) supports most of your weight, but that’s also where many of the hormone-induced loosening of the supporting structure occurs, so no wonder back pain is so common.5
As a consequence of the weight gain, your centre of gravity changes, which means your posture changes. In fact, the curve of your lower spine changes shape, which can put extra strain on joints, ligaments, muscles, and discs.4
So, what can I do about it?
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to try and minimise backpain during pregnancy, and some simple, ways to relieve it.
- Exercise can help. Especially non-weight bearing activities such as swimming or indoor cycling. But walking is also safe.6
- Try and stand straight and tall with shoulders back and relaxed. For best support, stand with feet further apart than you usually do. And if you must stand for long periods of time, try and rest one foot on a low step or stool or another sturdy object. When seated, make sure the chair provides good back support or place a cushion/pillow behind your lower back.3
- Low heels are best. Choose comfortable shoes with good arch support.3
- Be careful lifting. It’s even more important to bend your knees during pregnancy.
- Heat therapy. Heat pads are a very safe and convenient way to apply heat therapy. (But be careful not to apply heat to your abdomen). They slowly heat up and start working in about 10 minutes. Adhesive heat pads such as Hotteeze are designed to be positioned on the outside of under garments where heat is required. The gentle adhesive will help keep them in position.
You can check out Hotteeze Heat Pads here.*
- TENS Therapy. This is another approach to your back pain management by using a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) device. TENS devices are small, and portable and help the body to release endorphins, our own natural painkillers, as well as blocking pain signals travelling to the brain.7 Check out a TENS device here, which can be used not only in the last few weeks of pregnancy to relieve back pain but also to help relieve pain during labour.~
As you have read, backpain during pregnancy is very common, and you now understand why. However, if pain becomes unbearable, always seek the advice of your healthcare professional.
* Always read the label and follow the directions for use. Do not stick directly on skin.
~ Your health professional will advise you whether this product is suitable for you. Always read the label and follow the directions for use. Do not use with any electronic medical devices e.g. pacemakers; prior to last 3 weeks of pregnancy; or on the abdomen at any stage of the pregnancy.