Back pain during pregnancy? How to Stay Fit, Fabulous and Pregnant
The risk of injuries during pregnancy are generally low but, there are some things to be cautious of. The body undergoes a lot of changes during this time. Changes in the body include ligament laxity, falls can occur, and lower back pain during pregnancy can occur. Find out how your pregnancy chiropractor can help keep you active during your pregnancy.
What happens to the body during pregnancy?
Hormone secretion of Relaxin and Estrogen increases during pregnancy. These hormones help relax ligaments and tendons in preparation for that final push. These hormones relax the pelvic region in preparation for childbirth and affect the surrounding ligaments of the pelvis and spine.
Posture changes and our centre of gravity alters in response to the little bub growing, the extra size and weight development in the abdomen, increasing the curve in the lower back and placing more significant pressure on the lumbar spine.
The expecting mother’s breasts enlarge and drag the shoulders forward and down. These postures and centre of gravity changes will also affect balance and coordination.
Lower back pain during pregnancy
During a healthy pregnancy, women generally gain between 12-18kgs, mainly in the abdominal region. This added weight changes the centre of gravity and affects posture, and increases the risk of falls during pregnancy. The increased pressure coupled with laxity in the ligaments results in a greater risk of lower back strain. Pain is most common where the pelvis meets the spine, at the sacroiliac joint, where pressure builds over the nine months.
Enlarged breasts increase stress and strain through the upper back. The shoulders roll forward and down, generating pain in the mid-back region. When the shoulders round, it also causes the head to jut forward, placing extra stress on the neck increasing the likelihood of pain.
Falls risk increases throughout pregnancy. When balance is an issue, should pay extra attention to tasks where balance may be an issue, such as climbing stairs, carrying packages, walking on a slippery or uneven surface. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if feeling unsteady.
Pregnancy places physical stress on the body and emotional stress through increased hormone levels. This emotional stress builds up and can also contribute to back pain, especially during stressful periods of pregnancy.
How to avoid back pain during pregnancy
The first step in avoiding injuries is to be aware of them. Acknowledging the changes occurring in the body and making compensations will prevent most injuries from occurring. Back pain during pregnancy is something your pregnancy chiropractor can help with.
Simply stretching the hamstrings and gluteals (muscles that we sit on) can reduce/prevent pain, leg cramps and muscle fatigue. Pain and spasms in the round ligaments (connective tissue connecting the pubic bones) can be aggravated by specific exercises, like shifting weight from one leg to another. Pelvic tilts on all fours and bridging exercises help reduce this irritation. We have included our favourite pregnancy chiropractor exercises to help keep you moving and prevent low back pain during pregnancy.
When going upstairs or walking on uneven surfaces, take special care. When in doubt, ask for a helping hand.
As with all cases, if any injury or pain occurs, please consult a qualified pregnancy chiropractor.
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