Pregnancy is an exciting and trying time for families. While many mothers are overjoyed about bringing new life into the world, there are a host of difficulties that come with the process. A mother's body goes through many changes, and many are painful. Back pain, for example, is a very common side effect of pregnancy. It's a great idea to be proactive about everything where children are involved, and pregnancy issues are no exception.
This month, we'll cover some of the best ways to maintain the health of your back and joints while pregnant.
There are a few aspects of pregnancy that make maintaining your back health different than normal. Most notable is the belly, of course! Especially during the third trimester, the added weight changes a woman's center of gravity. This affects her posture and can cause mild to severe back pain. This means it's extra important to take good care of your back health during pregnancy.
Avoid lifting, bending, and straining.
Pregnancy affects a woman's posture, and posture affects the spine's ability to support weight. Furthermore, the sacroiliac joints and pelvic ligaments naturally loosen in anticipation of childbirth. That means that every time a pregnant woman bends down or lifts a heavy object, it puts extra strain on joints that may already be weakening. Over time, this can develop into lasting back pain. It's best to have someone else do the hard work for you where possible, but it’s also a good idea to learn proper lifting techniques if you don’t already use them and to invest in assistive devices such as belly bands and wheeled backpacks instead of handbags.
Minimize stress in your life.
As you probably know, stress causes tension in the muscles. This tension can affect posture and cause back pain to flare up in general. It may be helpful to try and identify major sources of stress in your life, then find a way to resolve them or put them on the back burner during the pregnancy. If you don’t already practice specific relaxation and breath-control techniques, this could be the time to start.
Make light exercise a part of your daily routine.
When we spend all day sitting down and resting, the muscles slowly begin to weaken. Although heavy exercise isn't appropriate for those in late-term pregnancy, there are plenty of great options to keep the blood pumping. Stretches and swimming are a great way to relieve back pain and tension. If you're unsure what would be safe or beneficial for you, consult with your doctor before engaging in activity. They'll also be able to provide more tips on back pain and staying active during pregnancy.
Be mindful of your posture.
As we already mentioned, pregnancy can be especially taxing on posture. Poor posture puts unnecessary strain on the joints, leading to back pain. It's important to be mindful of your posture, especially when sitting for extended periods. Pull your shoulders back, keep your chin up, and squeeze the muscles in your core to better support your weight. Posture is also important while sleeping. If you're a side sleeper, place a pillow between your knees to avoid spinal misalignment. If you sleep on your back, try placing the pillow under your knees. This will relieve pressure on the lower back.
See a chiropractor.
It's a good idea to consult with a chiropractor who is proficient in pregnancy care before problems develop, but even more so if you’re experiencing discomfort. They will be able to identify the root source of your pain and give you advice specific to your circumstances. They also provide treatments like chiropractic adjustments, which are proven to improve posture and reduce back pain.
Despite the messy and sometimes painful process, pregnancy is a beautiful time for you and your family. With proper self-care and support from those around you, you'll make it through back pain and whatever other challenges pregnancy may throw at you. Congratulations on the new addition to the family, and keep doing a great job!