Having a baby should be an exciting time in any woman’s life but it can also be daunting. All the changes a woman’s body goes through can range from strange, to uncomfortable, to painful, and even dangerous if there are complications. There are several reasons for the back pain you may be experiencing…

Back pain during pregnancy

As much as 60% of women report lower back pain during pregnancy as the most common and often uncomfortable part. It is not unusual to also experience joint pain, stiff sensations, and aches in the knees, hips, fingers, elbows, and ankles. These initial aches could just be a sign that your body is preparing for childbirth. The type and severity of joint pain also varies depending on whether you are in your first, second, or third trimester. There are various factors that contribute to this. The 3 main reasons are:

  • Hormone changes
  • Change in posture
  • Gaining weight

Hormone changes

Estrogen and progesterone are the main hormones produced by the expecting mother during pregnancy. They assist with improving vascularization (the formation of blood vessels), and transferring nutrients to the developing baby. In addition, the changes in progesterone cause a laxity or loosening of ligaments and joints throughout the body. These high levels of progesterone cause internal structures to increase in size, such as the ureters.

Change in posture

As the baby grows, it puts excess pressure on your muscles and skeleton. This changes your posture and center of gravity to accommodate the growing fetus, while at the same time causing weakening of the abdominal walls and increasing strain on the muscles, which results in a combination of body aches and pains. From mid-way through the second trimester, the baby’s growth speeds up, and during the third trimester, it can even double in size. This means that your body needs to adjust very quickly to create the necessary space.

Gaining weight

In addition to all the other changes, the amount of weight gained during pregnancy is over a reasonably short period of time and puts sudden and traumatic pressure on your joints (knees, hips, lower back, ankles).

4 Tips to reduce pain during pregnancy:

  1. Stay active – moderate exercise like walking has been shown to help reduce pregnancy back pain. Stretching can assist in relieving sore muscles. And using a combination of positions to get through your daily tasks, so switch between sitting, lying down, and standing.
  2. Get support – a belly support belt can help with lower back pain and pelvic pain, providing better support to the abdominal wall and muscles.
  3. Keeping your pregnancy weight gain in check – it’s recommended that women with a normal BMI (18.5-29.4) gain between 11 and 16 kilograms in total.

Based on your current weight and other factors, check how much you should gain: Here

  1. Consult with your doctor – everyone’s body is different and there are many factors that affect your health and the health of your unborn child. Consult your doctor or OBGYN before making any changes to your diet, medication, or making major lifestyle changes.

The experts at The Back Clinic specialize in several kinds of back and joint pain. The highly trained team of medical professionals may be able to assist. Call us at 063 097 5603 or email at info@thebackclinic.co.za

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