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Pregnant Backers: Read 7 Tips to Avoid Back Pain

Published November 13, 2017

Calling all expectant mothers. First of all, Mazel Tov on your soon to be bundle(s) of joy. With any baby bump comes other bodily changes. And, one of those changes could very well be back pain whether it's your upper or lower back.

So, how do you know if your back pain is a sign of preterm labor, a urinary tract infection, serious injury, or nothing at all?

You should always consult your health care provider or medical specialist first, but it's also important to know the tricks of the trade. Here you will find seven tips to avoid back pain while pregnant.

Maintain Proper Posture

As your pregnancy progresses, your center of gravity moves with. In order to compensate for falling forward, you may lean back too often, sometimes without realizing. Doing so can strain your lower back muscles causing you chronic back pain.

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic suggests four principles to keep in mind when maintaining proper posture:

  • Stand up straight and tall
  • Hold your chest high
  • Keep your shoulders back and relaxed
  • Don't lock your knees

Shop 'Till You Drop

Mayo Clinic Obstetrics Specialist Dr. Yvonne S. Butler Tobah says to consider purchasing a maternity support belt. Some women with a chronic back pain diagnosis find this additional support helpful for their lower back pain. In addition, Tobah suggests wearing low-heeled —doesn't specifically have to be flat — shoes that possess superior arch support.

"Avoid high heels, which can further shift your balance forward and cause you to fall," the specialist adds.

Pregnant woman shopping.

Forget About the Bend & Snap

When you go to pick up an object, squat down and lift with your legs, not your back. According to the doctors at the Mayo Clinic, it's critical to know your boundaries. Ask for help when you need it. And, don't bend and snap.

Your Sleep Positions Matter

Always sleep on your side, not on your stomach. You want to keep one or both knees bent and then alternate sides as you fall asleep. We suggest using an additional support pillow that you would place in-between your bent knees. You can also put another one underneath your abdomen and/or behind your back. Basically, the more support, the better (use as many pillows as you can find to throne yourself in).

Nika Robinson, a pregnant Backer and sciatica patient from Central Florida reveals, "Sleeping was one of the worst things and now, it’s so much better. I literally dreaded it."

The low back pain patient got herself a body pillow for the pregnancy paired with an overload of better quality pillows.

"I sometimes feel like a queen when entering. My bedroom is like a throne with so many pillows. My husband and I always joke about that," she says.

Pregnant woman in proper lying position.

Schedule that Massage

Make that appointment at the salon for a massage. You will not only feel muscle strain freedom but your mind, body, and soul should be more relaxed, ready to take on the upcoming week. If you can't make it to the parlor, alternate between a heating pad or an ice pack on the affected area. When in doubt, ask your hubby (or significant other) to give you a back massage using the hot or cold therapies.

Keep It Moving

Tobah says regular physical activity can keep your back strong and might relieve back pain during pregnancy. Of course, you need any excess activity approved by your doctor first, but with their OK, consider moderate exercise.
Those physical activities include:

  • Yoga
  • Walking
  • Water Exercise
  • Stretching
  • Physical Therapy

Pregnant women performing yoga to help alleviate back pain.

What's Up Doc

If your chronic back pain lasts for more than two weeks, make an appointment with your doctor or specialist. Since you are pregnant, you have to worry not only about yourself but another tiny human. And, some medications that non-pregnant females consume for pain relief cannot be taken while expecting.

If you are unsure where to begin, it's a fail-safe guarantee that your primary care doctor will know what's up. Consider the seven tips and above all, enjoy this time as a pregnant Backer. Remember, there is no better feeling than the movement of life inside of you. 

Updated: June 7, 2021

Information provided within this article is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for medical advice. Those seeking specific medical advice should consult his or her doctor or surgeon. If you need to consult with a specialist, you may be able find a health care provider in our Specialist Finder. SpineNation does not endorse treatments, procedures, products or physicians.

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  • If you spend a lot of time working in one or two positions — sitting or standing — you find that you feel a little pain shooting through the top or bottom of back. That’s when most people try to jog their memory and retrace their steps to figure out why their back is hurting. The simplest way is to check to see if your posture may not be one of them.