6 simple strategies to help you cope with pregnancy back pain

Back pain may be common during pregnancy, but you don’t have to suffer anymore thanks to these top tips.

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Expectant women
usually suffer back pain between the fifth and seventh months of pregnancy. You’re also more likely to develop such aches in pregnancy if you have experienced previous lumbar problems or have a chronic back pain condition.
According to a Yale University School of Medicine study, 70 per cent of women will report lower back pain at some point in their lives. During pregnancy, over half to 80 per cent of women report back pain.

 

Types of pregnancy back pain

Here are two common types of back issues you might experience while preggers.

Lower Back Pain (LBP)
Also known as lumbar pain, it’s generally situated around the waist area in the centre of the back. This type of pain increases with prolonged sitting, standing, bending or lifting objects. Soreness may be felt in the muscles along the spine during pregnancy.

Sciatica is another type of pregnancy pain which occurs when LBP happens concurrently with sharp pain and numbness that radiates down your leg or to the foot. Sciatica is caused by herniation – the bulging of an intervertebral disc resulting in nerve compression. Women who suffer from back problems before pregnancy are at higher risk of experiencing sciatica pain.

 

“Back pain is one of the most common symptoms experienced by expectant women during pregnancy. The main reason would be weight gain, but the hormone, relaxin, which is released during pregnancy, does play a small role in causing back pain.”


Posterior Pelvin Pain (PPP)
Occurring as a deep-seating ache at the back of the pelvis, this pain is felt at one side of the waistline or on either of both sides of the tailbone. The discomfort can spread to the posterior and back of thighs but it does not radiate below the knees. PPP is more common than LBP during pregnancy and is not linked to any pre-pregnancy conditions. Also, a previously fit and healthy lifestyle or level of fitness does not prevent posterior pelvic pain during pregnancy.

 

What causes pregnancy back pain?

“Back pain is one of the most common symptoms experienced by expectant women during pregnancy,” explains Dr Jessie Phoon, a consultant at the Department of Reproductive Medicine at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. “The main reason would be weight gain, but the hormone, relaxin, which is released during pregnancy, does play a small role in causing back pain.”

Dr Phoon adds that relaxin, may cause ligaments that support the spine to loosen, causing instability and pain. She also notes that back pain, particularly lower back pain, typically begins in the second trimester of pregnancy when the growing baby and expanding uterus begin in place pressure on the spine.

Dr Phoon advises, “If the expectant woman is experiencing moderate to severe back pain, she may want to seek further assessment with her obstetrician and gynaecologist.”

Other reasons why you’re having back pain, include the change in your centre of gravity, poor posture or standing/sitting position (sitting at a computer or leaning over a desk or workstation for long periods) and physical stress on the body (climbing stairs, lifting, twisting or bending).