It is a joyful period in our lives to be expecting, but there are the not-so-fun moments most expecting moms have to endure.
No, we’re not talking about labor.
Back pain is among to most common side effects of pregnancy and unfortunately, most of us have to endure it for months.
In both of my pregnancies, I had pretty bad back pain. I seek advice from my obstetricians and did my own research on finding the most effective reliefs.
Finally, I went from “I can’t do anything because my back hurts” to “Mama got this!” after a day of house work and caring for a toddler.
In this post, I will share with you the exact things I’ve done to banish my pregnancy back pain!
What causes back pain in pregnancy
Back pain is very common in pregnancy. It is estimated between 50 and 70 percent of pregnant women experience back pain.
- Hormonal changes in the body in preparation for a growing baby
- Loosened joints and ligaments in your pelvic region to prepare the baby to pass through your pelvis
- A growing uterus shifts your abdominal organs and your body weight is redistributed. Due to the changes in your center of gravity, you begin to adjust your posture and the ways you move.
- Taking care of another child. My back pain is worse the second time around because I was chasing Baby #1 around the house. I was also potty training my son in my 2nd trimester and those bending and carrying him on the toilet took a toll on my back.
- Poor posture, excessive standing or sitting, and bending over can trigger or increase your back pain.
- Stress can cause muscle tension in the back, resulting in back pain or back spasms.
- Chronic back pain prior to pregnancy.
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What Does Pregnancy Back Pain Feel Like
- A dull ache.
- Discomfort on one side or the other.
- Radiating pain.
- Pain in the center of the lower back.
- A deep ache in the buttocks.
- Pain that extends through the thighs and legs.
Pregnancy Pack Pain Reliefs That Really Work
Here are the things I’ve done to ease my back pain with my 2 pregnancies. I incorporated all of the following remedies so be sure to check all of them out to get the maximum benefit!
Relief #1: Wear maternity support belt
I wish had worn this earlier in my pregnancy! My friends kept telling me how wonderful a maternity support belt is but I always thought it’s not safe to use. I mean, you are tightening your belly so the baby has less room to grow right?
My back pain became so unbearable I asked my obstetrician for remedies. The first thing he suggested was to wear a maternity belt!
The belt, when worn correctly, supports the lower back by redistributing pressure more evenly and lessen the burden of your pregnancy weight.
And no, it causes no harm to the growing fetus.
There are may types of maternity belts on the market, but I swear by this one I’ve been using. Different from it’s competitors, the back panel is wider, hence, more support for the back. The fabric is very breathable with multi-layered laminate elastic lining.
I can wear this belt all day long without feeling it there. I mean, 7,800+ reviews and 4.5 stars on Amazon. That’s a steal!
Relief #2: Wear supportive, cushioned shoes
This is also a suggested remedy from my obstetrician. Walking or standing on hard surfaces takes a toll on your feet, knees, and back due to its inflexibility. Your lower body muscles become tense and stressed, which is the culprit for lower back pain.
Essentially, you want to relieve pressure to your feet especially if there are hard surfaces in your house. We have tile and wood floor throughout (except for this piece of rug in the living room) so walking and doing chores around the house barefoot provides a real beating to my back.
These fuzzy house slippers saved my life! The plushy slippers has built in arch support and orthopedic heel cup that alleviates pressure to your feet. It doesn’t only look cute but also comes in 6 different colors.
Relief #3: Change positions often and avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time
Being stagnant for a long period of time can increase pressure to your feet or buttocks. Even if you need to sit for an extended time, get up and sit at another spot after a long period.
I can spend hours sitting in front of my computer working. But when my phone rings, I got up and lounge on the couch in my office to take the call.
Relief #4: Sit and stand on cushioned surfaces
Back pain during pregnancy can be unforgiving if you sit for a extended period of time. Too much pressure to the tailbone can manifest to the lower back.
Sitting on a well cushioned surface will provide support and comfort by taking pressure off the tailbone. I have a desk job where I sit over 8 hours a day so investing in a good cushion is a must.
This extra-large memory foam seat cushion saved my life! I felt relieved only after using it for a few days. The numbness feeling around my tailbone disappeared and my pregnancy back pain improved significantly.
Having a memory foam seat cushion doesn’t mean you can sit all day long. Be sure to get up and take breaks every 30 minutes of sitting.
If you work in the kitchen a lot, a comfort floor mat will provide soothing to aching feet. When choosing a mat for the kitchen, get the the ones that are designed for kitchen use. These floor mats have beveled edges and non-slip underside. They are more secure and safer than area rugs or mats that roll up.
Relief #5: Apply heating pad on the back
Heat therapy opens blood vessels, increasing blood flow and bringing fresh supplies of oxygen and nutrients. This helps reduce joint pain and eases soreness in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The warmth from a heat pack can also increase your range of motion while decreasing muscle spasms.
Overall, heat therapy is a good way to find temporary pain relief during pregnancy.
Using a heat pack on your back does not raise your core body temperature and is non-invasive. AKA doesn’t cause harm to your growing baby.
When applied properly, you’ll notice the difference right away.
Also it is important to be consistent with heat application. I use my heat pad for 20 minutes at least 3 times a week and the more you do the better the result.
There are many types of heat pads out there. Some are electric, some require heating, or you may just use warm wet towels.
If you seek convenience like me, I highly recommend the hands-free electric heat pad. This heat pad targets back pain relief by contouring to the shape of the back. It has a 10 foot cord so you can still walk around with it.
Precautions to consider when using heating pads
- Don’t apply a heating device directly to your skin. It’s best to wrap it in a thin towel first, or use it over your clothing.
- Don’t apply heat for longer than 20 minutes, which is the normal cycle length of most heating pads.
- If your heating pad has temperature settings, use the lowest setting that still makes you feel better.
- Avoid falling asleep with your heating pad.
- Never use a heating pad on your belly
Relief #6: Sit with your feet slightly elevated
If your feet can’t touch the floor while you sit, you are putting too much pressure on your lower back.
A foot rest solves the problem by keeping the feet slightly raised off the floor to promote better blood circulation and backache relief.
I use this plushy ergonomic foot rest cushion when I work. I love its arched design and neither too soft nor too firm. The velvety sleeve is also removable and machine washable.
Relief #7: Sleep on a full body pregnancy pillow
When my back pain started during my first pregnancy, I tucked pillows around my body while I sleep on my side – one between my legs, one below my belly, and one behind my back. That’s four pillows including the one for my head!!! I had to constantly adjust them from my frequent middle of the night trips to the bathroom.
Enter a full-body pregnancy pillow and it completely changed the quality of my sleep. The U shaped pillow provides total body support, relieves pressure points in the back, and soothes aching muscles.
This is the best U shaped pillow for backache suffers because it has an extra cushion that cradles the back.
What’s more, the velour cover is super soft to the touch and is machine-washable.
Relief #8: Practice good posture
A poor posture can exacerbate back pain, especially during pregnancy. Be conscious of how you stand, sit, and walk. Below are adjustments you can simply follow for a better posture and reduce pregnancy back pain.
- Tuck your buttocks under when you stand
- Pull your shoulders back and downward
- Stand straight and tall
- Be aware of how you stand, sit and move
- Try not to cross your legs
Relief #9: Exercise (swim, walk or stretch)
Regular exercise strengthens muscles and boosts flexibility, easing the stress on your spine. Good exercises for reducing back pain include walking, swimming, and stationary cycling. Also, consider joining a prenatal exercise or yoga class.
For me, it was hard to incorporate exercise into my daily life so all I did was walk. Every day after dinner, we walk around our neighborhood for about 15 minutes. Breathing in the fresh air and getting my body warmer not only relieves my back pain and also my mental stress.
Relief #10: Take a warm bath with Epsom salt
A warm bath helps calm the soul, especially if you are having lots of stress during pregnancy. Adding Epsom salt to your bath is like adding icing to the cake.
Epsom salt contains magnesium sulfate that can revitalize sore and achy muscles. It is often recommended to treat pregnancy back pain and leg cramps. Magnesium is also believed to be a natural stress reducer.
I love Dr. Teal’s pink Himalayan mineral soak because it contains extra minerals to soothe my achy muscles and soften my skin. I also like their soothe & sleep lavender scent and relax & relief eucalyptus scent but I find them a bit strong to the nose during my pregnancy days.
Relief #11: Do lower back stretches (Cat Cow yoga pose)
The Cat Cow position increases spinal flexibility and helps to relieve back pain. Be sure to do this effective lower back stretch during pregnancy. All it takes is 30 seconds to a minute, at least once a day.
- Come onto your hands and knees on a yoga mat.
- On the exhale, round your spine up towards the ceiling, and imagine you’re pulling your belly button up towards your spine.
- On the inhale arch your back, let your belly relax and go loose.
- Repeat for at least 10 rounds, or until your spine is warmed up.
Like with all yoga moves, if you experience any pain, don’t push that pose.
Other pregnancy back pain remedies
I’m a natural mama so I try to avoid anything that is slightly interventional to my delicate pregnant body. I have not personally tried the relief methods below but many women with pregnancy backache swear by them. The remedies below are safe and non-invasive options for pain relief but always talk to your care provider first before trying them out!
Relief #12: Prenatal massage
Massages can reduce stress hormones in your body and relax and loosen your muscles. Prenatal massages are adapted for the anatomical changes you go through during pregnancy. Before you make your prenatal massage appointment, be sure the therapist is licensed to do so.
Relief #13: Acupuncture
According to research, acupuncture may be better than traditional treatment with massage, heat, and exercise for pregnancy back pain. There are special precautions to take with when getting acupuncture because experts say some acupuncture points can actually induce labor. Ask your care provider if acupuncture is good for you. As always, do your own research on the qualification and reputation of the acupuncturist.
Relief #14: Chiropractic therapy
Seeing a chiropractor for regular adjustments during pregnancy can help relieve back pain that stems from relaxed ligaments and joints. Adjustments can also help correct posture and spinal curvature to keep back pain at bay.
Chiropractic care is often covered by insurance so contact your insurance first to avoid paying out of pocket!
When To Seek Help
If your back pain is severe, tell your care provider. He may suggest a variety of approaches, such as special stretching exercise to alleviate the pain.
It is important to contact your care provider if you are also experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- vaginal bleeding
- cramping or abdominal pain
- passing of tissue from the vagina
- regular urine contractions (every 10 minutes of more often)
- a feeling of heaviness or pressure in the pelvis or lower abdomen
- watery discharge leaking from your vagina
- menstural-like cramps, which may come and go and may be accompanied by diarrhea
The Last Thing You Need To Know About Pregnancy Back Pain
Pregnancy back pain can hold you back from performing daily activities and can take you on an emotional toll. However, with the right approach having a painless back is possible.
Ensure to take good care of yourself and adapt the necessary steps to treat and prevent pregnancy back pain by implementing the reliefs provided here.
You’ll get through it!
I hope today’s post showed you how to relief back pain during pregnancy.
Now, I want to turn it to you:
Which of the 14 pregnancy back pain reliefs from today’s post are your going to try first?
Are you going take that warm bath tonight?
Or maybe schedule a relaxing prenatal massage with your therapist?
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now!
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- Ultimate Pregnancy Survival Kit: 30 Essentials for the Mom to be Care Package
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Even if you experience only mild back pain, it is important to inform your doctor. He or she can recommend the best methods for you to manage those symptoms and can then monitor you throughout your pregnancy for worsening symptoms.