slide-1 1 of 12
In a recent study, more than 2/3 of women said they suffered from lower back pain at some point after the first trimester. Though back pain can get bad enough to require medical intervention, its usually somewhere between a minor and major annoyance. Here are 10 things you can do to prevent and manage the pain at home.
10 Ways to Relieve Pregnancy Back Pain 2 of 12
1: Wear the right shoes
Stiletto fans, were talking to you. High heels throw your back out of alignment as your body tries to balance the additional weight of your belly on stilts. They also increase the risk of falls or near falls, which can strain your back further (and could be dangerous). The healthiest footwear choices during pregnancy are low-heeled and supportive — not optimal for fashion, but best for comfort and safety.
Pregnancy + Heels = Trouble
10 Ways to Relieve Pregnancy Back Pain 3 of 12
2: Try support garments
Back pain is often caused by pressure on the back from the weight of the belly. Support garments can help compensate for that weight by supporting the back muscles. Sometimes an over-belly panel can be enough to make a difference, but there are many strengths of support available, from firm shapewear to more constructed support belts that strap around the waist and lower back.
Pregnancy Spanx: revelation or tool of oppression?
10 Ways to Relieve Pregnancy Back Pain 4 of 12
3: Practice good posture
Adjusting the way you stand and walk can make a huge difference in how your back feels. Generally, you want to stand straight, but avoid thrusting your belly out and forcing the lower back to work harder. Good posture is about engaging your core muscles in the right way. Ask your OB or midwife for advice on how to stand most comfortably or try a session with a physical therapist or personal trainer who works with pregnant clients.
Why dont pregnant women tip over?
10 Ways to Relieve Pregnancy Back Pain 5 of 12
4: Squat, dont bend over
Bending from the waist strains the lower back even when youre not pregnant. Add 15-30 pounds to that equation and youve got the potential for some serious back pain. Squatting allows your legs and butt to bear the brunt of that weight instead. (Youll also get a little lower body workout in the process!)
Pain during pregnancy: 5 ways to relieve lower back symptoms
10 Ways to Relieve Pregnancy Back Pain 6 of 12
5: Stretch out
One of the best stretches for your lower back is the yoga position known as childs pose. But your pregnant belly will get in the way, so try this mamas variation: Kneel on the ground with your knees opened. Lean forward so your head and/or arms are resting on the ground in front of you. Stretch your arms further to open up your back more. Do this move or any back stretch slowly and gently to avoid pulling muscles.
How prenatal yoga changed my life (for a while)
10 Ways to Relieve Pregnancy Back Pain 7 of 12
6: Strengthen your core
The idea that women shouldnt work their abdomens during pregnancy is a myth. No, classic crunches arent a good idea, but pregnancy-safe core strengthening can be helpful for everything from back pain to childbirth to postpartum recovery. To learn which exercises are appropriate for pregnancy, try a prenatal pilates class, DVD or book. You can also look for another pregnancy-specific exercise class and ask the instructor for advice on core exercises you can do at home.
How to work your abs while pregnant?
10 Ways to Relieve Pregnancy Back Pain 8 of 12
7: Exercise regularly
Exercise has been shown to reduce pregnancy back pain as well as stress, which can cause or exacerbate back pain. Prenatal yoga or other prenatal exercise classes can even be tailored to help relieve your back pain. Prenatal classes are popping up everywhere these days, but if you cant find one near you or prefer privacy, you can find DVDs or online versions of prenatal workouts. In addition, non-prenatal exercises like swimming and walking can be equally good for keeping back pain at bay.
Pregnancy exercise benefits: Top reasons to work out while pregnant
10 Ways to Relieve Pregnancy Back Pain 9 of 12
8: Sleep well
Its hard to find a comfortable sleeping position when pregnant, especially one that wont make you wake up aching. Everyones body is different, but generally youll want to align your body and distribute the weight evenly. When sleeping on your side, use a firm pillow between your knees to support that side of your body and keep your spine aligned. Some women also like a pillow under their belly, and you may want to increase the padding on your bed to decrease the pressure on your hips (which can, in turn, affect your back).
Exhausted? 10 tips for better sleep during pregnancy
10 Ways to Relieve Pregnancy Back Pain 10 of 12
9: Get a massage
If youre already suffering from back pain, youve got a built-in excuse for a prenatal massage. Massages can also prevent future back pain because they reduce stress and muscle tension, two big back pain triggers. Some pregnancy massage experts do not recommend tables with belly cut-outs for women with back pain as they can actually strain the lower back. But a good massage therapist should be able to work on your back from a side-lying position while supporting
Prenatal massage: 5 reasons why you need one
10 Ways to Relieve Pregnancy Back Pain 11 of 12
10: Consider alternative therapies
Chiropractic care and acupuncture are both safe during pregnancy if the provider is trained and experienced in prenatal work. Many women have found relief with these modalities of care and others outside the model of traditional western medicine. If you find a care model that youd like to try, its a good idea to check it out with your primary prenatal care provider first. This may not be her area of expertise, but its important to keep her in the loop.
Chinese medicine: Would you use it during pregnancy?
10 Ways to Relieve Pregnancy Back Pain 12 of 12