Pregnancy is one of the happiest and most exciting periods in every woman’s life. However, waiting for the baby to come is often clouded with discomfort and lower back pain during pregnancy.
As a rule, more than 75% of expectant mothers complain about lower back pain; sometimes it is there during the full pregnancy term. The lower back pain in pregnancy is usually considered normal because the female body undergoes a lot of physiological changes. However, you shouldn’t take it lightly – this symptom can be a sign of a serious health problem.
Let’s learn more details about lower back pain during pregnancy: what causes it, which kinds of discomfort are normal, and how to relieve the pain.
The common reasons for lower back pain during pregnancy
During the gestation period the female body produces relaxin – the hormone responsible for the relaxation of sacral and hip joints and ligaments. This is necessary for the baby to fit through the birth canal during the delivery.
The weight gain and growing belly induce imbalance, that’s why the future mother has to lean back all the time. As a result, your spine is always arched and your muscles are under constant strain which induces the pain sensations.
If the pregnant woman has locomotor system diseases they also can lead to severe lower back pain.
The most widespread causes of lower back pain during pregnancy are:
- Spinal curvatures;
- Osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine;
- Weak muscles.
Lower back pain during early pregnancy
Future mothers often complain that they’re in their first trimester but they have already been suffering from lower back pain. The reason lies in the hormonal imbalance and physiological changes the female body is going through at the time. The ligaments are stretching, joints loosening in order to prepare for the strain they will be very soon put under. You’re not alone – almost every woman experiences lower back pain in early pregnancy.
Lower back pain in the second trimester
Additional weight shifts your center of gravity, and you have to arch your spine and put a lot of strain on your lower back. The production of relaxin increases.
One of the causes of back pain can be wrong footwear. You should choose your shoes very carefully during pregnancy. Tight and uncomfortable shoes can put pressure on your heel which sometimes leads to pain in the lower back. The same goes for a sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity. Even in the current fragile condition a woman needs some physical exercise.
Lower back pain in the third trimester
The majority of complaints about lower back pain during pregnancy occur in the third trimester, especially weeks 21, 30, 36, and 40. The relaxin production considerably increases. Besides, there is a problem of calcium deficiency because fetal development requires large amounts of it. So, the pain in the lower back becomes severe. A lot of future mothers admit that walking, bending down, twisting and turning trigger the pain.
Medical experts point out a few other reasons for lower back pain during pregnancy:
- The increased pressure on spinal muscles and spine itself. As a rule, the pain becomes more severe after long walks or exercises.
- Health complications, such as kidney or bladder diseases. In this case, the lower back pain is accompanied by pain in the groin.
- Lower back pain is one of the signs you’re going into labor.
Since the 38th-39th week of pregnancy, the lower back pain will have increased. A future mother will be able to notice the feeling of discomfort located in the sacral area – it’s caused by the baby’s head turning down and touching the nerve endings.
Sometimes lower back pain is a consequence of hypothermia that has led to the muscle inflammation.
Of course, if your pain isn’t triggered by some health problem it will completely subside after delivery.
During the last weeks of pregnancy the future mother feels the pain in her lower back and lower abdomen. These sensations are a symptom of Braxton-Hicks contractions – the female body is getting ready for giving birth.
In some particular cases a nagging lower back pain during pregnancy is a sign of neuralgia.
Acute pancreatitis is another common reason for lower back pain. The pain syndrome spreads around the torso and thus is often located in the lower back area.
Is the lower back pain during pregnancy dangerous?
If a future mother feels pain in the lower back in the first trimester she should consult her doctor as soon as possible in order to eliminate complications. Severe pain can signalize about some pathological process threatening the health of the pregnant woman and her unborn baby.
Nagging pain in the lower back, raised body temperature, and vaginal spotting should also be immediately diagnosed.
Light lower back pain during pregnancy is normal if you don’t need medications to alleviate it. All the other cases require a medical consultation.
Pregnancy back pain treatment
A medical expert will prescribe a course of treatment only after finding out what has caused the lower back pain. Remember, self-treatment is not the answer! It often just makes the pain worse.
Speaking about the most common cases, the lower back pain treatment usually includes:
- Kidney or urinary tract diseases – a course of treatment for the main problem;
- Spinal curvatures or osteochondrosis – bed rest, topical treatment with ointments and hot water bottles;
- Spasmodic pain requires specific massage for pregnant women;
- A way to relieve the lower back pain during pregnancy is wearing bandage;
- Calcium intake will prevent the deficiency – it should ease the pain, at least a little.
Preventive measures to relieve lower back pain during pregnancy
- If you’re in the process of pregnancy planning and have already been trying to conceive, make some time for exercises that will strengthen your back muscles;
- Choose fitness for pregnant women, yoga, or swimming as your regular physical activity during the gestation period;
- Follow a healthy pregnancy diet;
- Pay attention to your wardrobe, especially footwear: your shoes should be very comfortable;
- If you spend a lot of time sitting, pace for 10-15 minutes every hour;
- An orthopedic mattress would be a wise purchase;
- Don’t lift more than 6 pounds of weight.
Pregnancy is a time when you’re vulnerable, so if you suspect a health problem, visit a clinic immediately. Remember, there are a few reasons for lower back pain other than pregnancy.