Back Pain during Pregnancy + How to Stretch your Back during Pregnancy

Back pain during pregnancy is quite common as your body is changing in many ways.  Between hormones relaxing the pelvic ligaments, muscles separating in your abdomen, stress, weight gain and the growing size of your belly offsetting your balance, back pain during pregnancy can cause moms-to-be a real back ache.  However, there are ways to help prevent, reduce and relieve back pain during pregnancy including lifestyle habits and stretching your back.

Let’s start with the easy stuff.  A few simple ways to reduce back pain during pregnancy are your basic lifestyle habits such as posture, sleeping positions and the shoes you wear.  Good posture is always important for back health but this has never been truer than during pregnancy.  Be aware of your posture and find a comfortable way to maintain good posture during every activity.  Even when picking up objects keep your back straight and bend from your Back Pain during Pregnancyknees.  Sleeping on your side, preferably left side, will help reduce pressure on your back overnight, and also helps blood and oxygen flow for you and your baby.  Wear comfortable shoes that allow your feet good mobility and breathability.  That means limiting high heels and sticking to mostly flats.

Using heating and cooling devices may help alleviate back pain during pregnancy.  Start with cold packs for several days and then switch to a heat source for a few days.  But limit use of heating pads to around 20 minutes at a time to be sure you’re not getting overheated. You can also try acupuncture or a pregnancy massage to work out some of the kinks and tension residing in your back.  Even counseling can help improve back pain during pregnancy if your pain stems from stress.

Stretching your back is another great step in preventing and relieving back pain during pregnancy.  There are several back stretches that are safe and effective during pregnancy.  First, start with child’s pose, which can be done when you are on your hands and knees and then sit back on your heels for a full vertical back stretch.  If this position is uncomfortable, place a pillow under your belly for support.  Next, stand upright with your feet wider than shoulder distance apart.  Lean one hand down your leg and raise the other in the air for triangle pose.  Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on the other side.  This stretches your back at different angles.

Your chest, neck and hamstrings are all connected to your back and can help you stretch out your back too.  Standing tall, clasp your arms behind your back and pull up for a proud chest stretch.  Then sand with your head cocked to one side and use your hands to gently push your head and neck further down towards your shoulder.  Hold this position on each side for 20 seconds.  Lastly, try a hamstring stretch by cocking one foot out in front of you and bending forward until you feel your hamstring and lower back stretch.  Repeat on the other side.

If your back pain during pregnancy becomes severe, consult your OBGYN as she may have additional solutions to relieve your achiness.  Usually back pain subsides shortly after giving birth when your body begins to shed the extra pounds and regain its normal hormonal and anatomic balance.