Congratulations! You’re having a baby. Having a baby is as awesome as learning that Harry Potter is real and you just got your Hogwarts letter. That is, it’s awesome until you learn that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is real too: morning sickness, tender breasts, fatigue, cravings, increased need to urinate, mood swings, heartburn, back pain, and the list goes on. While you are probably excited for the magic that comes with your baby, you might not be excited for the evil symptoms of pregnancy that cause you pain. Back pain during pregnancy is one of the most common types of pain your body inflicts on you. Fifty to seventy percent1 of pregnant women experience back pain, so you’re not alone. You’re part of your own little Dumbledore’s Army.
Why does pregnancy2 make your back hurt?
It isn’t just a coincidence that pregnant women have back pain. There are real explanations to your baby causing you back pain.
Increase of hormones.
When you’re pregnant, your hormones go crazy. Starting from your first trimester, you produce more gas, you get more acne, and your mood swings are unbelievable. But thankfully a cute little baby will come out of you in nine months, so it’s not all for nothing. But unfortunately, your hormones are also preparing for the birth of your baby, which means that your ligaments in the pelvic area soften, and you joints become looser. Because your back isn’t receiving the support it normally does from your pelvis, your back starts to hurt.
Your center of gravity changes.
As the baby grows and your belly starts to show in your second trimester, your body has to compensate for the growth of your belly and your center of gravity changes, causing your posture to change and sometimes causing you back pain.
As the baby gains pounds in your third trimester, you gain pounds. Extra pounds on your back makes your back hurt. But at least you’re getting closer to holding that baby in your arms.
How to prevent back pain in every stage of your pregnancy:
Start the habit of exercise early in your pregnancy. Do exercises and stretches (approved by your OB/GYN) that support and strengthen your back and abdomen. Make sure that they are approved exercises because not all exercises are safe for the baby.
Practice good posture.
Practice good posture early in your pregnancy. As your baby grows, your center of gravity will change. If you train your muscles early in your pregnancy to stand up straight and tall, your pain won’t be as bad later in your pregnancy.
Be stress free.
Whether your baby was on purpose, a surprise, or an accident, try not to let the prospect of having a baby stress you out. Stress can cause tense muscles and back pain. Make a list of all the things you’re excited for and all the things you have to do before the baby comes. It will help you feel better to be prepared. Just take the list one thing at a time. Don’t try to do everything at once.
Exercising throughout your pregnancy will not only help with your back pain, but it will also help you have an easier, faster labor. Don’t forget to keep exercising.
Stop wearing high heels.
Avoid high heels because they don’t provide enough support for your back. High heels cause your pelvis to tilt forward, which can cause back pain.
Use the Chirp Wheel+.
Ask your doctor if you can use the Chirp Wheel+. The Chirp Wheel+ can relieve your muscles from extra tension caused by weight gain and your center of gravity shifting.
Consider seeing a chiropractor or masseuse.
If you have persistent back pain, see a doctor to see if a chiropractor masseuse would be good for your back, your baby, and your pregnancy. Make sure to see a chiropractor or masseuse that specializes in treating pregnant women.
Avoid lifting heavy things.3
If you lift heavy objects when you’re pregnant, it can cause more harm than good to your back and your baby. In general while pregnant, you should lift 20 to 25 percent less than what you could lift before your pregnancy. If you have back pain while pregnant, we suggest lifting even less.
Maintain good posture.
Don’t forget about keeping good posture in the second trimester and the third. Good posture can significantly reduce your back pain.
Watch the number on the scale.
Your doctor will tell you what the healthy amount of weight gain is for each trimester. Try to keep your weight gain within the number range your doctor gives you for your health and for your back.
Prepare for big breasts.
You might start to have upper back pain as your breasts get bigger. Try doing neck and arm strengthening exercises to help prepare your muscles to support your growing parts.
Don’t stop exercising.
Movement helps with back pain. At this stage of pregnancy, walking and water exercises might be best for you and your baby. Check to see what your health care provider recommends.
Don’t bend over.
With all the weight you have from your now obvious baby belly, try squatting to pick things up instead of bending over. Squatting will prevent extra muscle strain and will keep your back from injuries. And remember to maintain good posture.
Avoid sleeping on your back.
Sleep on your side and keep a pillow under your belly, behind your back, and between your bent knees. The pillows will help keep your back in its natural curvature position, saving your back muscles from extra strain while you sleep.
Get plenty of rest and elevate your feet.
When you’re pregnant, you get tired faster. Listen to your body when it says it needs a break. Even lying down to get a break for your back pain might be the antidote.
Wear a support belt.
Wearing a support belt under your lower abdomen can help you maintain good posture as your baby keeps on growing. Because your belly is pretty big now, you’ll need all the support you can get. Wearing a support belt can also be helpful while you exercise, providing more support. Just make sure not to wear the belt for too long and cut off blood flow to your baby.
Use the Deep Tissue Chirp Wheel or a lumbar pillow.
While you’re sitting, try putting the smallest Chirp Wheel or a lumbar pillow behind your back for support. This can also be a great way to relieve sciatica pain during pregnancy, which is common in your third trimester.5
Try hot and cold therapy.4
Hot and cold therapy can calm your muscles and provide you momentary relief from your pain. If you use heat therapy, just make sure your body doesn’t overheat. The temperature you are is the temperature the baby is.
Remember to keep your stress to a minimum. I know the baby is coming soon and you might still have a lot to do, but nurturing is in your nature. You’ve got this! Stress causes muscle tightness and pain. No matter what is happening, try to relax.