Being pregnant is awesome! Knowing that you have a baby growing inside of you and imaging what their voice will be like makes every sacrifice of pregnancy worthwhile. Speaking of sacrfices...back pain is one of the most common uncomfortable side-effects in pregnancy.
Added weight from the baby and shifting organs both put extra pressure on the low back. A hormone called relaxin makes the ligaments and muscles of your hips and pelvis extra stretchy to accommodate for the baby and make childbirth possible. However, this extra stretch in the hips and pelvis can put things in your back out of place. Sometimes back pain in pregnancy is related to pressure on the sciatic nerve, indicated by shooting pains down your buttocks and legs.
The good news is that most back pain in pregnancy can be alleviated in simple, non-invasive ways. Try these suggestions for greater ease in your growing body.
The tendency in pregnancy is to slouch forward. Added weight in the belly and breasts make this all too easy. But good posture in pregnancy (and postpartum!) is critical for back, shoulder, and neck health. Sitting up straight and tall keeps your spine in optimal alignment. It also keeps your core engaged which is key for supporting your back. Relax your shoulders away from your neck, settle firmly into your seat, and draw your spine long up through the top of your head.
Chiropractic care during pregnancy is known to relieve back pain quickly. Chiropractic works to realign the spine into an optimal position. Many mothers use chiropractics to help prepare their bodies for childbirth as well.
Prenatal massage is a wonderful way to relieve inflammation and tension in the spine. Massage helps to relax muscles and release endorphins, so not only does your body feel better, your spirit does, too.
Both chiropractic care and massage therapy are known to relieve headaches and aid with digestion, two other common complaints of pregnant mamas.
You may have been a soft mattress lover all your life until pregnancy but the pregnant body is best supported on a firm mattress. Quality sleep impacts your whole body health. Sleep only becomes increasingly important in parenthood so pregnancy is a good time to invest in a mattress that truly lets you get great sleep.
A body pillow, pregnancy pillow, or wedge pillow can provide tremendous comfort during pregnancy. All options allow the hips to be separated and supported and the shoulders to be in alignment. Wedge pillows offer a gentle lift underneath the belly to reduce strain on your back while sleeping.
Walking is considered the best form of exercise in pregnancy. It allows the whole body to move gently.
However, make sure you are walking in the right shoes! Your arches need to be supported. Pregnancy isn't the best time for high heels or any uncomfortable shoe.
If committing to a daily walking practice feels impossible for you, try to add extra steps into your day by parking farther away at the store or getting up to walk around your house or office every 30 minutes to give your body a break from sitting. Walking keeps everything moving in your body, so it helps with digestion, fluid levels, cramps, tension, and, yes, back pain.
A heating pad is an age-old remedy for back pain with good reason. It's a simple way to relieve tension to tense muscles.
Taking a hot bath is another great option. Soaking in hot water relaxes your muscles and your mind. Add 1-2 cups of sea salt or Epsom salt for even more relief.
A belly band provides gentle support to your belly and low back. It offers compression and many mothers find it relieves pain. A belly band cues you to maintain good posture. It is a simple, comfortable band that can be worn under clothing and during almost any activity.
Yoga is known to relieve back pain in pregnancy and beyond. Poses like warrior 1, downward-facing dog, and child's pose created space in the low back while opening the hips. Extended side angle opens up your cramped torso. Cat and cow are some of the simplest stretches to do for a flexible and supple spine.
Any poses that keep you on your hands and knees both relieve pressure on your spine and help baby move into an ideal position for birth. When your baby is in optimal alignment it increases your chance of pregnancy comfort.
See if your local studio has a prenatal yoga class or check out prenatal yoga classes online. If you are new to yoga, remember to start slow just like you would with any exercise program.
While some back-pain is normal if it is keeping you up at night or just unrelenting be sure to mention it to your care provider. They may have other ideas for comfort and will know if your level of back pain is a sign that something bigger is going on.
You may also want to consider a cream like Aromalief Vegan Hemp Pain Relievercan provide comfort to areas such as your lower back, neck, and shoulders. It's lavender scent can also help you sleep better which becomes a real challenge during the final months. Consult your doctor before using this or any other pain reliever.
Have you tried any of these remedies for back pain? What has helped you the most to feel comfortable in pregnancy?
This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. Please consult your doctor prior to making any health decisions while pregnant.
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