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Pregnancy and low back pain

Waiting for a child is the greatest joy in the world, but it is also a very difficult period in a woman’s life, that is associated with the many changes her body must go through in order to be able to bear and give birth to a living and healthy child.
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The first months of pregnancy are marked by morning sickness and vomiting, followed by frequent back pain and lower back pain, weight gain, frequent urination, insomnia, and what not. Of all these ailments, low back pain is the most unpleasant.

According to a study conducted in the United States, between 50 and 80% of pregnant women suffer from low back or pelvic pain. The study also shows that the pain usually begins to appear between the 5th and eighth month of pregnancy, but in some cases may appear earlier (between the eighth and 12th week).

Before we talk about the relationship between pregnancy and low back pain, we need to clarify a few things:

  • First – The low back pain that women experience during pregnancy is not dangerous and disappears completely after childbirth. Therefore, if you are expecting a child, you should not stress further – this is a problem that accompanies pregnancy, but only so much.
  • Second – Specialists characterize two types of pain – in the lumbar region (lower back) and in the lower pelvis (tail area), so it is good before taking action to deal with this pain to visit a specialist to guide you to the appropriate ways to deal with pain according to its type.

Pregnancy and low back pain

What is the reason for low back pain that accompanies pregnancy?

Weight gain

In a normal, healthy pregnancy, a woman usually gains between 10 and 15 kg. As you gain weight, the load on your spine increases, as it has to cope with the increasing weight.

In addition, the growing baby in the mother’s womb increases the pressure on the blood vessels and the nerves of the pelvis and spine, leading to low back and back pain.

Changes in posture

As the pregnancy progresses and the belly enlarges, the woman instinctively changes her gait and posture in order to be able to perform her daily activities.

However, loading more muscle groups can lead to the formation of joint contractures, which in turn leads to increased pain in the lower back.

Changes in hormonal levels

During pregnancy, a woman’s body begins to produce the hormone relaxin, which helps the muscles in the pelvic area to relax. In this way, a woman’s body prepares for the forthcoming birth.

This hormone is important for a smooth birth, but can increase the flexibility of the tendons that support the spine, leading to some instability and pain.

Uterine enlargement

Uterine enlargement often causes pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing pain and making it difficult to move.

What can be done to reduce pain?

Unfortunately, pain cannot be completely avoided, but there are some preventative measures that, if taken, can relieve the severity and reduce the frequency of its occurrence.

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Exercises

Different types of exercise are one of the best and most effective ways to relieve low back pain during pregnancy. Of course, not all exercises are suitable for pregnant women and before you start practicing any exercises in a course or at home, it is good to consult a specialist. But still…

Exercises that can help you

Exercises on inversion table

Inversion tables are highly recommended by both physiotherapists and gynecologists, as the exercises that can be performed on them strengthen the muscles of the back and waist, and move every part of the body without overworking the already stressed body during pregnancy. In addition, inversion table exercises can be performed at home, as and whenever you need.

Gymnastics

A 2005 study published in the journal Gynecology found that women who exercised several times a week (2 to 3 times) improved their condition and kept back and lower back pain to a minimum.

Here are some stretching exercises to help you:

  • Get down on all fours. Tighten the muscles, straighten the back, and bend the head down to the chest. Remain for a minute or two in this position, then return to the starting position. Repeat several times without straining.
  • Sit on the floor with your legs crossed (as far as you can). Place your left hand on the floor and raise your right. Tilt your body to the left, keeping your right arm straight. Stay in this position for a few minutes, then return to the starting position. Change hands and do the exercise again, tilting your body in the other direction.

Massages

Massages relax muscle tension and relieve pain, so do not give up on them. You can visit a specialist, or you can ask your loved one to massage you lightly and gently.

According to a study by the American Institute in Miami, massage, in addition to relieving pain, also reduces anxiety, stress, and depression caused by hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy.

Running

If you like to run for health, there is nothing stopping you from doing it during pregnancy. You just have to run calmly and without heavy loads.

Pilates and yoga

Pilates and yoga also help relieve pain, so you can try attending classes once a week.

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Swimming

Swimming strengthens the muscles of the back and lower back and will relieve your pain during the last months of pregnancy.

Long walks

Even if you just walk in the park, you can reduce and alleviate the pain, so walk as far and as long as possible.

In addition to the exercises that are good to do for low back pain during pregnancy, you can follow these tips to relieve your condition.

Maintain the correct posture

As the pregnancy progresses, a very large proportion of women (not to say all) not only change their gait but also change their posture, instinctively twisting their backs to compensate for the weight of their growing and heavy abdomen.

However, this position puts even more strain on the muscle groups of the waist and back and puts additional strain on the spine, which, as mentioned above, leads to severe low back pain. To prevent this from happening, your posture must be correct.

How to do it?

If you have to sit for a long time, put a comfortable pillow behind your back, or sit on furniture that has a comfortable backrest.

Using a footrest will also benefit you and relieve the strain on your spine and lower back.

A pillow placed between the legs when you are lying down also helps a lot.

  • Change shoes – Even if you are used to walking in high heels, during pregnancy it is good to forget them for a while and go with comfortable, low shoes.
  • Be careful with bending – If you need to take something off the floor, always do it by bending your knees. This will reduce the tension in the waist (if there is anyone to lift the objects, ask them, as it is not recommended for you to do it).
  • Be careful when getting up – To get up from the chair or bed, use the muscles of the legs and thighs, not the waist (as often happens).

If you work in a sitting position behind a desk, be sure to get up and walk every 20 minutes.

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