Preventing Back Pain in Pregnancy

Many pregnant women experience low back pain, especially during the second and third trimester. A study of 400 women found that 42.5% of women reported pain during their pregnancy.

One third of women report that their back pain is so severe that it interferes with their ability to work, sleep and complete their activities of daily life.

The occurrence of low-back pain has become so common that it is often accepted as being a normal part of pregnancy. But…the good news is that this back pain can be prevented.

With all of the changes that occur within the female body during pregnancy, it is not surprising that women develop low back pain.

For example, during a healthy pregnancy, the average woman gains 25-35 lbs. This extra weight puts strain on the joints, muscles, and ligaments of the lower back. Postural changes that occur during pregnancy can also place strain on the low-back.

As the women’s abdomen and breasts grow bigger, she often develops a sway-back posture to avoid falling forward. This sway back posture results in increased pressure on the joints of the low-back and causes increased muscle tightness.

In addition to the postural and weight changes, there is increased ligamentous laxity due to the production of the hormone Relaxin. This laxity increases the risk of sprains or strains.

Exercise before and during pregnancy is helpful in preventing and reducing low-back pain. An exercise program should involve aerobic exercise such as walking or swimming, weight training, abdominal exercises and gentle stretching.

After 15 weeks of pregnancy, exercises should not be done while lying on your back, since the weight of the uterus can prevent venous blood from getting back to the heart.

In some cases, despite preventative measures, back pain develops. At such times, Chiropractic care may be beneficial to reduce the pain associated with pregnancy. Chiropractic care has been shown to be very effective for the treatment of low back-pain associated with pregnancy.

In addition to relieving the muscular tension and joint restrictions that cause back-pain, we also work with our patients and provide specific exercises to aid in the prevention of future occurrences of low-back pain during pregnancy.

Chiropractic care can also help with other common complaints associated with pregnancy including:

Diakow P et al. Back pain during pregnancy and labor. JMPT 2004; 14(2): 116-118.