Let’s face it. Nagging back pain combined with a growing belly makes for an uncomfortable situation no matter how you look at it. Your growing uterus and the extra weight you’re carrying is likely to leave you aching by the end of the day and desperately searching for relief. According to a recent study, more than 2/3 of pregnant women suffer from back pain at some point during their pregnancy. I’ve struggled with back pain most of my pregnancy and while it hasn’t been easy, I’ve found some great ways of coping with the aches. Here are 5 things I’ve done to manage pregnancy back pain:
Stretch and Exercise regularly. I can’t emphasize this enough. Stretching and yoga have literally changed my life. I practice prenatal yoga asanas like cat and cow poses, wide-leg forward fold, downward dog and child’s pose at home each night in addition to attending prenatal yoga classes every week. Yoga not only provides a great deal of relief for back pain, it also gives you great practice for breathing during labor! In addition to prenatal classes, low-impact exercises like swimming or walking can be great for preventing or providing relief for back pain.
Practice good posture. Your great-aunt was right all the times she told you to stand up straight and put your shoulders back. Adjusting the way you stand or sit can make a dramatic difference in how your low back feels. Always position your body as straight as possible and avoid sticking your belly out as it can add extra curvature to your low back. While sitting, lengthen your tailbone toward the floor and tuck the pelvis toward the navel. Sometimes I even sit on a pillow to help take pressure off the lumbar.
Grab a pillow for a good night’s sleep. It can be a constant struggle to find a comfortable sleeping position during pregnancy. Especially the bigger your get. Positioning and pillows can make a huge difference. Try to align your spine and distribute the weight evenly over your body. Lying on your side is considered the best position to sleep in during those last few months. Use a firm pillow between your legs to decrease low back strain and a pillow under your abdomen to support the weight of the uterus.
Wear the right shoes. I love wearing heels as much as the next gal, but at nearly 9 months pregnant, I feel completely drained by the end of a day in high heels. Wearing high heels throws your back out of alignment causing extra strain on your back muscles. Plus, the additional weight around your expanding waistline shifts your center of gravity and changes your posture which can leave you more at risk for tumbles. I like to wear shoes that I can easily slip on and off. The best option is a low-heeled, supportive shoe.
Get a massage. There’s no question that massages can provide excellent relief from aches and pains, particularly during pregnancy. A massage can also prevent future back pain by reducing stress and muscle tension. Find a good massage therapist who will work on your back from a side-lying position rather than on a table with a belly cut-out, which can add extra strain to the lower back. If a massage isn’t in your budget, kindly ask your partner to rub your back where it aches.
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