For many pregnant women, about the time they feel their baby’s
first kicks, they also begin to feel back pain.
Between 50 and 70 percent of women experience pregnancy-related
back pain, often beginning in the second or third trimester (between 16
and 26 weeks). While the type and severity of pain will be different for
every woman, the root of most back pain is the same.
Maureen Dodd, care manager, Alberta Health Services Perinatal
Education, Calgary Zone, explains: “As the baby grows and the uterus
becomes larger, very often a pregnant mom will compensate by leaning
backwards, which strains the back muscles. That, along with
the hormone relaxin, which loosens the ligaments and joints, changes
Dodd notes a common joint affected is the sacroiliac (SI), one of two
joints located at the very bottom of the back, on either side of the spine. As
relaxin causes the ligaments surrounding the SI joint to become more lax,
it allows for greater movement of the SI joint. If posture changes during
pregnancy, back pain can result.
Making a few adjustments as your body changes will help ease pain, or
avoid it altogether.
“Make sure you sit up straight, and try to avoid bending backwards,”
says Dodd. “I also recommend avoiding high heels. If possible, avoid stand-
ing for long periods of time, and also try to bend at the knees, instead of
bending over, to lift your toddler or a bag of groceries, for example. And get
a good supportive bra as the breasts get heavier, to avoid upper-back pain.”
Dodd says women should tell their doctor about any back pain they are
experiencing, to determine if treatment is necessary. — Susan;Pederson
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