What Causes Back Pain in Pregnancy?

What Causes Back Pain in Pregnancy?

Back pain is a very common complaint among pregnant women and many often neglect it. About 80% of women experience lower back pain. During pregnancy, the mother's body weight increases, the baby grows, and the baby's body becomes softer and flexible to prepare for labor. A number of changes happen together, and is it not very surprising that the strain manifests in the form of back pain. Although one need not be too worried about the pain, it does deserve some attention. Understanding the causes and treatment for the pain would be helpful at this juncture. The back pain experienced during pregnancy is found at the joint where the spine meets the pelvis.

 The most common causes for the pain are:

  • Increase in body weight – An average woman gains about 30 pounds during pregnancy. Moreover, the growth of the baby and the uterus adds pressure on the pelvis and back resulting in pain.
  • Posture changes – It is very common that women gradually shift the posture to accommodate the new center of gravity. This may happen during walking, sitting, and  standing. The resulting strain on the back leads to lower back pain.
  • Certain hormones – Hormonal changes including the production of relaxin, the hormone that helps in flexing the pelvic ligaments during labor, is one of the common causes of back pain. This is because relaxin may also loosen the ligaments attached to the spine causing a throbbing pain at the back.
  • Expansion of uterus – Increase in the size of the uterus is a characteristic feature of pregnancy and may lead to back pain. As the uterus expands, the muscles on either side of this organ get stretched and this results in pain.
  • Stress – Emotional stress is one of the causes of the dull ache at the back. Stress may lead to muscle tension and thus back pain.

Lower back pain can certainly be relieved with a few simple tips:

  • Avoid standing for a long time and lifting heavy loads
  • Keep the weight gain under control. Let the gain be within the recommended range.
  • Regular exercise
  • Improve your posture during standing and sitting
  • Heat or cold compress
  • Get a massage from a trained professional
  • If the pain is more ask for physical therapy or alternative medicines