As all mothers learn, there are various types of discomfort that one can expect when expecting a baby and one of these is lower back pain in early pregnancy. Women’s bodies contain various hormones, one of which is progesterone. Progesterone is one cause of lower back pain in early pregnancy. Fluctuations in progesterone result in a loosening of the joints as well as the ligaments that connect the pelvic bones to the spine. In addition the uterus growing within the body also stresses the joints and muscles. It can even shift and press against a nerve. This type of movement will also trigger back pains.
There are two types of back pain common to early pregnancy. One is lumbar pain which occurs on the back at waist level or sometimes just a tad above. Pain in this area can also spread to the legs. Certain activities such as lifting, and excessive periods of sitting and standing will intensify this pain. The pain is usually worse in the evening.
Posterior pelvic pain is another type of low back pain experienced by expectant mothers. This occurs in regions below the lumbar pain such as the buttocks and backs of the thighs. Activities such as sitting or rising from a low chair, ordinary walking, climbing a flight of stairs or even turning over in bed will activate this pain.
Movement during sitting such as learning forward in your chair to peruse the computer screen or twisting around to pick up a telephone can intensify pelvic pain.
Lower back pain in early pregnancy should cease by the twentieth week. A woman whose back pain continues late into the second trimester or occurs at any time during the third trimester should definitely contact her health care provider. Pain at this time could indicate preterm labor. This is particularly true for those fortunate women who have never had back pain previously. Women should also visit their caregiver if the lower back pain intensifies to the point where they lose feeling in any area of their body, experience sudden weakness or lack of coordination.
There are some strategies that pregnant women can employ to avoid or minimize low back pain during pregnancy. They should have their exercise program approved by their caregiver. Since pregnancy has already loosened their joints, vigorous exercise should be avoided but gentle stretches to strengthen back, leg, and abdominal muscles are recommended. For women who have access to a pool, swimming and gentle exercises performed in the water are great. Some hospitals and community centers sponsor exercise programs for expectant mothers.
Good posture will also help to alleviate pain. Pregnant women should endeavor to stand straight with shoulders and ears parallel. Correct posture while sitting is also important. And if their job requires sitting for long periods at a time, they should try to take a break as often as they can, but at least once an hour.
Women experiencing low back pain during their pregnancy should also wear comfortable, flat shoes, not high heels. They may even want to seek out a shoe brand that assists with good posture.