“My back is killing me.”
That can be the case for millions of women AND men, but it’s a very common complaint among women in later stages of pregnancy. There is good reason for it, too.
As your belly grows larger, your muscles and spine strain with the extra weight. And during pregnancy, your body produces relaxin, a hormone that helps prepare your body for childbirth. One of relaxin’s effects is to loosen ligaments throughout your body, making you less stable and more prone to discomfort and even injury, especially in your back.
But, there are ways to find relief and avoid discomfort.
- Stand up straight. Pushing your belly out can increase pressure on the back.
- Wear an abdominal support garment approved for pregnancy and/or maternity pants with wide elastic bands that can fit under your belly.
- Apply a warm towel or heating pad on the lowest setting to the area of pain. DO NOT place on abdomen.
- Use a firm mattress. If your bed is soft, try placing a board between the mattress and box spring.
- Sleep on your side with one or both knees bent. Try a pregnancy pillow for improved comfort or a bed pillow between your knees and another one under your belly.
- Try gentle stretching or low-impact exercises. First, talk to your doctor about what you plan to do.
- Lift anything that weighs more than 10 to 20 pounds.
- Sit or stand for long periods. If you must, take frequent breaks and try to prop up your feet when sitting.
- Wear high heels or shoes with poor arch support.
- Take any medications without talking to your doctor first.
If your pain becomes serious or doesn’t improve, call your doctor with any questions or concerns you may have. Don’t let the pain get out of control before you call.