Pregnancy is one of the most miraculous processes of the human body, but it may not feel that way around month number six, especially when it comes to pregnancy and low back pain.
At that point in pregnancy, the growing baby is changing a woman’s center of gravity, pulling on the muscles in the low back, and changing her posture. Abdominal muscles may be weakening and separating to accommodate the baby as well, and this puts additional strain on already-taxed back muscles. And to add insult to injury, hormones that the body releases to lubricate joints to make the birth easier can backfire by making joints too loose and flexible to properly support the spine.
There are ways to support the back throughout pregnancy.
The first way is to start early. Even before the baby is a bump, exercises like pelvic tilts can help keep the muscles of the abdomen strong and supportive. Wearing flats or very low-heeled shoes can help keep the spine in alignment, but make sure that there is good arch support as well. As pregnancy progresses, do not lift heavy objects without assistance, and lift with the legs by squatting to pick up the object instead of leaning over.
At bedtime, sleep on the side with a pillow between the knees for support. There are long, curved “pregnancy pillows” that can loop under the belly for support there, but a second pillow under the belly works just as well. When sitting, either in bed or at a desk for any period of time, a pillow at the lower back provides additional support, too.
It is important to practice safe and healthy back management during pregnancy, and any exercises suggested should only be done after first consulting with your doctor. Maintaining a healthy pregnancy weight and getting appropriate exercise throughout pregnancy can help to maintain a strong, pain-free back!
Tell us: what strategies worked best for you?
Image by Tatiana Vdb via Flickr