Backache in pregnancy

Advice on the causes of upper and lower backache, tips on how to avoid backache during your pregnancy plus information on back ache treatments.
During pregnancy ligaments become softer and stretch to prepare you for labour. This can put a strain on the joints of your lower back and pelvis, which can cause backache. As the baby grows, the hollow in your lower back may increase and this may also cause backache.

To avoid backache:
  • avoid heavy lifting;
  • bend your knees and keep your back straight when lifting or picking something up from the floor;
  • if you do have to carry something heavy, hold it close to your body;
  • move your feet when turning round to avoid twisting your spine;
  • wear flat shoes as these allow your weight to be evenly distributed;
  • work at a surface high enough to prevent you stooping;
  • try to balance the weight between two baskets if you are carrying shopping;
  • sit with your back straight and well supported.
A firm mattress can help to prevent and relieve backache. If your mattress is too soft, a piece of hardboard under its length will make it firmer.

Massage can also help, or you might like to try a support corset, which can be prescribed by your doctor. Make sure you get enough rest, particularly later in pregnancy.

If your backache is very painful, ask your doctor to refer you to an obstetric physiotherapist at your hospital. He or she will be able to give you some advice and suggest some helpful exercises.

If during or after birth you have pain in the hips, groin, lower abdomen and inner thighs and have difficulty walking or climbing stairs you should inform your GP, midwife or hospital doctor. This may be due to a gap in a joint in the pelvic girdle, which gaps naturally during the birth to allow for the baby's head, not closing up. This condition is known as Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction (SPD). It affects very few women but early diagnosis and appropriate treatment will help to minimise the pain and avoid long term discomfort.
Author : Department of Health: The Pregnancy Book 2004 - 2005

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I am 38 weeks pregnant and since about week 20 I have been suffering from SPD. I was struggling on, taking paracetamol till week 27 when I was in agony most of the time. So I decided to visit the Chiropractor, after the 1st session my pain stopped, I found that the pain would come back just before my next weekly appointment. I can't praise the Chiropractor enough. Now in the later stage I am starting to get very uncomfortable and am beginning to struggle again however without his help this would have come on much earlier and I would have ended up in a wheelchair. I appreciate that Chiropractic help is expensive but I was willing to make the Sacrifice whilst I was pregnant and it seemed money well spent when it got me out of pain.
by nicolaad 17th May 2011, 5:32pm
Hi - just like you popak, i am 6 weeks, have lower back pain and constipation, please someone write back and help us!
by Bethanb 7th Sep 2010, 8:55am
Hello, I'm 6 weeks pregnant and I have awful lower back ache AND constipation! Does anyone have any tips on how to alleviate the back pain? I'll try anything!
by popak 16th Aug 2010, 5:08pm
I'm 27 and 22 weeks pregnent .It is my second baby .I have continous backache .
by fouzia 12th Aug 2010, 10:21am
I am hypermobile, and suffered badly from SPD in pregnancy with my first daughter, now aged 4. I am now 5 weeks' pregnant, and am expecting the same again! SPD isn't as rare as people used to think, for instance, in my ante-natal group there were 7 women, and 4 of us had SPD!! Mine was so bad, due to the hypermobility though and not just the SPD, that I ended up in a wheelchair and taking morphine for the pain for 2 years afterwards, until it was correctly diagnosed, and my pelvis was found to be an inch and a half out of position. Once it was put back, I was a whole new person!!
by GayMum 14th May 2010, 5:37pm
i am 22 years engaged and im 2weeks pregnant and so much excited about my pregnancy but my backache is it normal,how long will it take
by shanainai 14th May 2010, 5:31pm
I'm 18 and 27 weeks, my backache has become increasingly painful the last week, it's on my lower left side, I've tried muscle rub and heat patches but didn't seem to work any ideas ??
by Mazey 14th May 2010, 3:48pm
i'm 18 and 21 weeks pregnant. I have been suffering from really bad back pains but i think it is linked to me being in an road traffic accident when i was younger. Does anyone have any advice for me to help me with the pain? My back stiffens up whilst im washing my hair, lying on my bed or even just sitting down on the sofa, so much so that im crying in agony. does anyone else have this problem????? Please help!!! xxx Thanks Kay
by kay19x 4th Aug 2009, 12:57pm
I'm 18 years old and 28 weeks pregnant. I have suffered from backache through most of my teenage years, but find that a warm (not hot) shower, can help ease the discomfort. Before I was pregnant, If my back pain got really, really bad, I would lie on my front on a hard floor, for about 5 minutes or so, followed by a short 5 minute walk - this really works, try it!

Obviously, now that I'm pregnant, I cannot lie on my front! I have bought a cheap TENS machine off Ebay, which sends small electrical pulses through into your back, and WOW its brilliant. If you don't have one, you should get one, and consider using it during labour too - apparently they're great for that.

I hope this has helped someone :)
by emdete 27th Apr 2009, 9:33am
i am 9weeks and three days pregnant.i dont feel comfortable lying on my right side because when in do i feel as if am in pain on my left side.i only feel comfortable lying on my left side.should i worry?help.
by demie 28th Oct 2008, 9:21am
I experienced really bad backache during my pregnancy until about 32 weeks - when I opted to have a pregnancy massage treatment. The therapist was fabulous and the treatment completely alleviated my low back pain. IIt was also extremely relaxing, well worth a try!
by AnnD 7th Oct 2008, 9:32am
I am in my fifth week of pregnancy and have backache and really bad bloating.Feel like I 've swallowed a stone boulder.
by LONDONER 15th Aug 2008, 9:02am
is it common to get back ache in early pregnancy (about 5 weeks)?
by kbestie 11th Aug 2008, 8:47am