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.