As your tummy grows, your lower back hurts – What to do?
As pregnancy continues, your bodyweight, centre of gravity and vital statics change. Changing weight distribution can lead to back pain in the lumbar spine. The hormonal change, especially in preparation for birth, also causes loosening of the ligaments that stabilise the pelvis. This can lead to further pain in the pubic symphysis (symphyseal pain) as well as to back pain and pelvic instability.
Back pain is one of the most common complaints during pregnancy and usually peaks between the 24th and 36th week. This is particularly noticeable when getting up, bending forward and dressing or undressing. Low back pain accompanies pregnant women throughout the day – and can affect sleep at night. Sitting for long periods is often perceived as unpleasant so an expectant mother should take regular breaks when travelling long distances by car as well as change their sitting posture more often and plan in rest periods.
In case of advanced pregnancy, uterus contractions, urinary tract congestion or pressure from the baby’s head on sensitive nerves can be experienced as back pain. Pregnant women should thus always have their back pain checked by a doctor.
Women’s body structure makes them more prone to back pain than men. Back problems experienced before pregnancy tend to intensify during pregnancy.
Pelvic instability primarily leads to pain in the pelvic girdle, both front on the symphysis and back on the two SIJ (sacroiliac joints = joints between sacrum and ilium). In some cases, pain in the sacroiliac joints can radiate to the lumbar spine..
There are special support belts that relieve the lumbar spine, reduce the shift in the centre of gravity due to the growing abdomen and alleviate back pain.
It is also important to help the body regenerate well after pregnancy.
Take back pain seriously in case it persists after birth. Describe your symptoms to your doctor. He or she will advise you on the therapeutic options (which depend on the cause, type and localisation of the pain): these range from wearing a support or orthosis to taking medication or doing physiotherapeutic exercises to taking surgical measures.