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LOW BACK PAIN IN PREGNANCY? HERE’S OUR 10 TIPS HOW TO EFFECTIVELY RELIEVE IT

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

Do you suffer from low back pain in pregnancy? Want to know what causes back pain in pregnancy and how to soothe it? Keep reading and learn what are the best exercises for back pain in pregnancy!


pregnant-woman-with-hands-on-belly

Back pain in pregnancy is very common as the body undergoes a really big change to accommodate a growing baby. Although back pain in early pregnancy is normal, it usually is more common that back pain, particularly lower back pain in pregnancy occurs between the fifth and seventh months, when the bump starts to grow bigger and affect the body balance.

Research shows that low-back pain in pregnancy affects more than two-thirds of women.



WHAT CAUSES LOW BACK PAIN IN PREGNANCY?


During this incredible nine months journey, many factors can affect your body and contribute to cause low back pain in pregnancy.

Some of the main causes include:


HORMONAL LEVELS CHANGE AND INCREASE

During the first trimester, levels of progesterone (a hormone that stimulates the uterus) in the body increase rapidly. High levels of progesterone help to loosen and relax the ligaments and tissues near the pelvis, affecting the joints’ stability and alignment.

The other hormone which is key to pregnancy is relaxin which helps the egg to implant in the uterus wall, and also prevents contractions during the early stages of pregnancy.

During the second half of pregnancy, this hormone relaxin surges even more in order to help the pelvic ligaments to open and make space for the baby, and make the ligaments supporting the spine to loosen, leading to instability and pain.

While this softening of the joints is crucial to make your body ready to give birth, it also put a strain on the lower back and pelvic joints, which causes the typical low back pain in pregnancy that 50-80% women experience.


POSTURAL CHANGES DUE TO WEIGHT GAIN

During pregnancy the mother’s centre of gravity shifts forward more and more, as the baby grows. Since there is more weight than normal in the front, this can cause an exaggeration of the lumbar spine's natural inward curve, called lordosis. This arch in the lower back can make the spine susceptible to aches as it is in an extended position for a prolonged time. In fact Lordosis may cause the compression of the vertebrae and the shortening of the lower back muscles, both of which can cause pain.


ABDOMINAL MUSCLE SEPARATION

A strong abdominal wall is key to stabilise the spine and support the back. During pregnancy, this abdominal muscle, which consists of two parallel bands of muscles, slowly separate as the baby grows and push against it. If the separation between the abdominal muscles is quite extended, it may cause a condition called diastasis recti. As these muscles stretch, they they become weaker, thus increasing the mother-to-be’s chances to injure her back as they dont provide the same support as pre-pregnancy.


STRESS ON THE BODY

During pregnancy, there are several changes that occur in the body. These changes can cause discomfort and stress, especially when combined with other stresses such as work, family responsibilities, financial issues, and more. Stress causes shortening of the muscles and pain, thus contributing to causing lower back pain. It is important that women try to manage stress as they can. Massage, Meditation, yoga, a regular sleep pattern, and good emotional support can all help.


HOW TO RELIEVE LOW BACK PAIN IN PREGNANCY


1. STAY ACTIVE & MIX UP YOUR MOVEMENTS


Gentle exercise is the number one recommendation for pregnant women suffering from low back pain. Exercises like walking, swimming and prenatal yoga keep your body and spine strong, your muscles in good shape and your joints flexible.

Whether you’re working from home or in an office, if you spend many hours sitting at a desk all day, try to remember to take regular breaks. You can just stand up and do a circuit of the room, stretch your arms behind your back, but it is essential that you remember to move as it keeps your muscles from getting too tight.


PREGNANT-WOMAN-WORKING-OUT

If you can’t join a prenatal fitness class, you may want to do some home exercises such as squats against a wall, lunges, glute kickbacks which all help to strengthen the glutes, back, hamstrings and calves that are key to support your posture and prevent low back pain.

If you would like more ideas how to exercise safely during pregnancy depending on your trimester, check our Pregnancy tips page.


Swimming is highly recommended for pregnant women as it is one of the most safe and effective forms of exercise for mothers-to-be. Swimming takes the pressure off the spine and helps strengthening the chest and back muscles.


Prenatal Yoga is another safe and more and more popular type of exercise for those suffering from low back pain. Prenatal yoga is a top choice among pregnant women because it also helps to deeply relax, learn to breath deeper and may also help you to sleep better, providing grounding and focus.




Acupuncture for pregnancy is an alternative medicine belonging to Traditional Chinese medicine. An acupuncturist will insert very fine needles into specific pressure points on the body that correspond with various systems of physical and emotional health. The stimulation of these points may help improve a wide variety of conditions such as low back pain, digestion, migraine headaches, boost your energy level, while bringing relaxation and calmness.


Research has shown how acupuncture can help to reduce low back pain in pregnancy and that is very safe when performed by someone properly trained, such as our acupuncturists at A to Zen therapies.



3. TREAT YOURSELF TO A PRENATAL MASSAGE


Pregnancy Massage can do wonders to those mother-to-be who suffer from low back pain, bringing quick relief when back pain is acute by releasing muscular clenching that irritates nerves. During pregnancy the sciatic nerve in the glutes and legs often gets compressed because of the extra weight and the shift of the woman’s gravity centre. When this happens, the nerve sends pain signals to the brain which results in acute lower back pain.


Furthermore, prenatal massage can help to combat stress and anxiety in pregnancy as it is a super relaxing treatment.




Foam rolling is a type of self-massage which uses a cylindrical-shaped tool to roll out tight spots and relieve tension in the soft tissues area. During pregnancy the glutes muscles often become very tight because of the shift of the pelvis and you can actively and easily release them by using a foam roller.


Check the video below to learn how to safely release tension in your glutes, hamstrings and calves so those muscles don’t pull on the lower back.



You may also want to read our article on “HOW TO CHOOSE & USE A FOAM ROLLER IN THE BEST WAY” for extra tips and mastering foam rolling during pregnancy.




Meditation is a technique that you can easily access by yourself whenever and wherever you feel like. Research has shown that mindfulness breathing and meditation can create a biological relaxation response that help to combat the release of stress hormones.


Learning to breathe deeply and in a mindful way is key to pregnant women approaching labour as it can help you to increase your pain tolerance level and coping with low back pain and delivery pain.


You can practice meditation in several ways. If you’d like some inspiration and an idea how to make it a part of your life, please read our article on “HOW TO START A MINDFULNESS MEDITATION PRACTICE IN 5 EASY STEPS” for extra tips.


6. TRY TO SLEEP COMFORTABLY


As the pregnancy progresses, sleeping comfortably may become more challenging due to the growing bump. We advice to find a pillow to take pressure off your bump and give your back a well-deserved break from the extra weight.


Sleeping on a firm mattress can also help to reduce low back pain in pregnancy as you are more stable.


7. WEAR FLAT SHOES


Pregnancy is not the best time to wear heels higher than one and a half inches. Flat shoes will help to keep your posture straighter and prevent low back pain in pregnancy.



Omega-3 fatty acids can be assumed with food or in a supplement form. These healthy fats which are found in fish such as salmon may help to relieve low back pain in pregnancy as they contribute to calm inflammation in your blood vessels and nerves.


DISH-WITH-SALMON-FILLET

If you’d like to recognise whether the fats in your food are good for you and why it is important to incorporate healthy fats in your diet, please read our article on “WHAT ARE HEALTHY FATS & HOW MUCH CAN YOU HAVE PER DAY?” for extra tips.


9. WEAR A MATERNITY SUPPORT BELT


Maternity belts, sometimes referred to as belly bands or pregnancy support belts, are supportive undergarments that help hold up the belly and does the work of the ligaments, muscles and fascia of the girdle area. In this way, maternity belt help the pelvic girdle and lower back to not overly strain, by acting as a substitute for your abdominal core muscles.


While being a great tool to relieve low back in pregnancy, the belts should only be used as a complement to other remedies such as massage and gentle exercise, rather than the only pregnancy back pain relief strategy you use, as they won’t help you to make any real improvements.


HOW TO PREVENT LOW BACK PAIN IN PREGNANCY


Here’s our top Tips to prevent and avoid pain low back pain in pregnancy:

  • avoid lifting too much weight and practise proper lifting techniques by squatting down and using the legs instead of the back

  • strengthening the back muscles by doing gentle pregnancy exercises regularly

  • try to follow an healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight throughout pregnancy

  • avoid standing for long periods

  • Remember to check and practice good posture

  • Try to sleep on the side


 



Book today your first appointment, and make lower back pain a dim and distant memory with our super effective and relaxing acupuncture and pregnancy massage London!



We hope you now have a clearer idea of what causes back pain in pregnancy and what you can do to prevent low back pain in pregnancy, such as book our fabulous Massage for pregnancy London!


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1 Comment


aijaz ali khushik
Dec 19, 2023

Experiencing low back pain during pregnancy is a common concern for many women. Here are ten tips to help effectively relieve and manage low back pain during pregnancy:


1. Maintain Good Posture: Practice good posture while sitting, standing, and walking. Keep your back straight and avoid slouching to reduce strain on your lower back.


2. Use Proper Body Mechanics: When lifting or bending, use your legs instead of your back to minimize stress on your spine. Bend at the knees and hips, and avoid twisting motions.


3. Exercise Regularly: Engage in gentle exercises approved by your healthcare provider, such as prenatal yoga, swimming, or walking. These activities can help strengthen your back muscles and improve flexibility.


4. Practice Prenatal Yoga:…


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
monica pineider massage therapist in london

Hi, Thanks for reading our blog! I'm Monica: founder of A to Zen therapies! I love being a massage therapist and   I strive to support you guys feeling looser, stronger & more positive day after day! I am here to share all my best tips to help you get even better results from your massages with maintenance, natural health and wellbeing advice. 

A to Zen therapies  treatments in London

At A to Zen therapies, we offer a wide variety of massage therapy techniques: .

 

Our clinic is close to Monument and London bridge. We are located within the Light Centre Monument, 

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