EXPERT ADVICE: How can I avoid pregnancy back pain?

A severe backache may affect your organ functions if left untreated! Learn what signs to look out for…

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Lower backache is a very common type of pregnancy pain you’ll have to deal with — especially in your second and third trimesters.

In fact, this problem plagues about half of all pregnant women, notes Dr Tan Toh Lick, a consultant ob-gyn at Thomson Wellth Clinic.

And pregnancy hormones are to blame for these aches and pains. Dr Tan explains, “During pregnancy, higher levels of hormones like relaxin, progesterone and [other] hormones result in joint laxity (or loosening of the joints).” In particular, if the loosened spin and weak back muscles don’t get proper support, it can result in pain.

Your growing bump can also weaken your abdominal muscles, which can change the curvature of the spine and exert pressure and weight on the spinal nerves.

“If the [pressure on the nerve becomes] chronic, it may cause permanent damage to the nerve and the function of organs such as the bladder or bowel, or leg.”

If you suffer from a regular back ache, you’ll only feel back pain. However, some women may experience a more severe form of back pain, called sciatica. This happens when the additional weight from carrying your foetus narrows one of your spinal discs, causing it to protrude. This exerts additional pressure on the sciatic nerve — a spinal nerve that extends from the lower back to each leg — resulting in sciatica. Dr Tan lists the symptoms you should look out for:

* Sharp pain.
* Numbness and weakness.
* A tingling sensation.

You can also feel such symptoms on one side of the body ― along the spinal nerves that run from your lower back to the leg. Sciatica can also become a debilitating condition if it isn’t treated.

Dr Tan explains that the pain may even affect various different parts of your body. “If the [pressure on the nerve becomes] chronic, it may cause permanent damage to the nerve and the function of organs such as the bladder or bowel, or leg.”

Noting that expectant women who have lower back pain radiating to the leg with numbness or weakness, as well as fever or incontinence, are displaying warning signs of the condition, he advises that they see a doc.