Back pain in pregnancy, how to fight it

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Catherine Le Nevez
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Back pain in pregnancy is one of the most common complaints among expectant mothers, often located in the lower back. Just like other other problems that can arise in pregnancy (or worsen) such as high blood pressure, gingivitis or intestinal problems, back pain must also be kept under close observation to understand if it is a temporary problem and therefore linked to the physiology of the pregnancy, or if it is appropriate to call the doctor to find out what to do.



Read also: Fetal movements: when they start and when to worry

In this article

  • Back pain in pregnancy in the first few weeks
  • Back pain in pregnancy quarter by quarter
  • The remedies for back pain in pregnancy
  • Back pain in pregnancy, when to worry

Back pain in pregnancy in the first few weeks

Back pain in the first weeks of gestation can be one of the first week pregnancy symptoms. In short, a signal that something is moving and that fertilization took place even in the very first periods after implantation. However, it must be said that back pain is often also associated with premenstrual symptoms and is not always a sign of pregnancy in progress: tests and examinations can confirm with certainty the state of the woman. 



If there are previous pathologies related to the lumbar part, these could worsen during pregnancy, especially due to the shift of the center of gravity that literally changes the balance of the female body. The pain can be perceived on different levels of intensity, starting from the lumbar area, but it can also irritate the legs and up to the shoulder blades and pelvis bones. In general, back pain in pregnancy can start at any time, even in subjects who have never suffered from pain of this type. The period in which you feel them most strongly is around the fifth and sixth month of pregnancy, when the belly tends to get bigger and therefore to change the balance of the body.

In general, back pain in pregnancy can be of two types:

  • lumbar: located in the mid-lower back at the level of the lumbar vertebrae with spread also on the legs and up to the muscles.
  • pelvic: in the back of the pelvis, with the ability to spread also to the buttocks and thighs

Causes of Back Pain in Pregnancy

The most common causes that provoke the worsening of this disorder are different. Obviously, the growth of the baby, the increase in the volume of the belly are the main culprits. And this is because the center of gravity of the spine, around the sixth month, inevitably changes and also changes the stance. If incorrect, as happens even when you are not pregnant, or if you take wrong positions for a long time (for example sitting at the computer), the posture causes problems and back diseases that are perceived more acutely during pregnancy. The sensation changes from woman to woman, but gets worse if the weight acquired in the months of gestation exceeds that recommended by the gynecologist: this is why following a correct diet during pregnancy is the first way to prevent back pain when pregnant. The increase in hormonal values such as those of relaxin and estrogen cause the joints to relax: on the one hand this process makes the pelvis more toned and flexible to facilitate childbirth, but on the other hand it affects the well-being of the back, bones and muscles in general. Also it stress it can be a cause of back pain in pregnancy as Greek research suggests "Pregnancy-related low back pain".



Back pain in pregnancy quarter by quarter

Back pain in the first trimester of pregnancy

The enlarged uterus, first trimester changes can cause back pain in pregnancy from the first weeks of gestation. The pain develops in the lower back and can even touch the sciatic nerve, causing further pain in the expectant mother. Exercising for posture and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help soothe this feeling. Gentle gymnastics during pregnancy, if carried out with caution and with medical consent, can help relieve back pain.



Back pain in the second trimester of pregnancy

Just around the fifth and sixth month the baby found its place in the womb; the center of gravity is shifting to find a new comfortable posture; the hormones of pregnancy are in circulation as much as I can. In short, back pain can arrive at this stage even in women who have not suffered in the first weeks of pregnancy. Especially in this period it is good to continue to eat healthy, so as not to gain too many kilos and not further worsen the situation of the lumbar muscles and the spine.

Back pain in the third trimester of pregnancy

Gaining 10, 15 kilos in pregnancy means not just overloading the work of the spine. And, even if weight gain is physiological, previous pathologies, aggressive movements and poor posture at this point in the pregnancy can really become important in relation to back pain. Labor, especially in the phases that anticipate it, can have back pain as a great protagonist.

The remedies for back pain in pregnancy

  • pilates in pregnancy
  • yoga in pregnancy
  • gentle gymnastics exercises (also in water)
  • diet in pregnancy
  • walk
  • maintain correct posture

These are the great tips that favor the mother who suffers from back pain during pregnancy, as also reported by the research on "Exercise for the prevention of low back and pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials". If the worst ailment is never good to consider it only physiological, even if the first need will be to alleviate it in the short term through for example heat and clay, which has great anti-inflammatory power.

Back pain in pregnancy, when to worry

It is never good to underestimate back pain in pregnancy. Especially if the acute and localized pain becomes chronic, that is, it lasts after birth. Avoiding reaching this point is possible, with the precautions we have indicated above.

in first weeks of pregnancy back pain can also become a symptom of miscarriage, especially if accompanied by other signs such as abdominal pain and discharge. And, in the last weeks, on the other hand, it can be an early symptom of labor: if these occur many weeks in advance, it is good to call the gynecologist to understand what to do and avoid a preterm birth. If the pain persists after pregnancy, you can still avoid making it chronic by seeing a professional.

Fonti per l'articolo: US National Library of Medicine, "Pregnancy-related low back pain"; National Library of Medicine, "Exercise for the prevention of low back and pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials"

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