As your pregnancy progresses, you will experience rapid weight gain and structural changes in your body. Your natural reaction is to try to adjust to these changes – and this may cause back pain. If the strain persists for long, it may lead to sciatica or other back problems in the third trimester. If you experience severe back pain, contact your healthcare provider for advice.
- Especially later in your pregnancy when you are much bigger, keep often-used items within easy reach to minimise excessive bending, lifting and stretching – or ask someone else to help you. Bend your knees, not your back, and lift small loads using the strength of your legs. If you have to walk with the load, try to divide it into two parts, holding one in each arm instead of holding it all in front of you.
- Stay fit. Regular stretching and exercise can help relieve back pain. Talk with your doctor before introducing new exercises.
- Sit smart. Stress on your spine is greatest when you are sitting. Make sure that the chair you use provides good support, preferably with a straight back, arms and a firm cushion. The seat needs to support your thighs. Another good idea is supporting your lower back with a cushion.
- Choose your chair.A chair that reclines a bit can also help take some pressure off your back. Use a footrest to elevate your legs slightly and do not cross your legs since it can cause your pelvis to tilt forward and strain your back further.
- Don’t sit for very long hours. If you’re at work, try to take walking or stretching breaks every hour or so for a few minutes.
- While standing, adopt a good posture. Stand tall and hold your shoulders back to keep your back straight. If you slouch on your tummy, it can strain the back and worsen the backache.
- Don’t stand for long periods. If your work demands standing, discuss some work health safety options while you are pregnant.
- Rest well.While resting, raise your feet and legs to take the pressure off your spine and pelvis. Use a hard mattress to support your back and try sleeping on your sides to rest your spine. You can also use a body pillow for support.
- Get out of bed smart. Turn to your side, then swing your legs over the edge of the bed. This position helps you to push your body up with the help of your arms without placing any strain on your back.
- Go for flat or low-heeled shoes. Wearing high heels may make you unstable and put more strain on your back.
- Keep a watch on your weight. Try to keep your weight gain within the recommended parameters. Carrying too much weight puts a load on your back and strains it further.
- Exercise regularly to help to strengthen your back. Get advice from a trained professional or join some antenatal exercise classes.
- Relax your back by pampering it with massages and warm water baths.