Back pain is very common in pregnancy. Between a half and three quarters of pregnant women have it at some stage.

However, there is plenty you can do to ease the discomfort and prevent it from getting worse. Some women who had back pain before they became pregnant find it eases during pregnancy.


What causes back pain in pregnancy

Your bones and joints are connected with tough tissues called ligaments. During pregnancy, the hormone relaxin loosens your ligaments. This happens from early on, as relaxin levels peak at 10 weeks to 14 weeks of pregnancy.

If you’re getting back pain early on in pregnancy, relaxin’s likely to be the cause. It’s common to have lower back pain in the first trimester.

As you progress through the second trimester and third trimester, the increasing weight of your baby and expanding womb (uterus) puts further strain on your ligaments and muscles.

Your abdominal muscles become stretched and can’t help you to hold your posture as firmly as before. This means that your lower back takes more of the strain.

You are also more likely to experience lower back pain during your pregnancy if you are overweight or unfit.

Regular exercise can protect you from back pain, but it may be hard to make time for a regular exercise regime if you already have a child. Strenuous work and previous lower back pain or pelvic pain can also make back pain more likely in pregnancy.

What are the symptoms of back pain in pregnancy

You’re most likely to feel pain where your lower back joins your pelvis. It’s easy to get it confused with pelvic pain, so it’s helpful to divide this type of pain into two categories:

  • Lower back pain. If you haven’t had it before, it’s a dull pain, which you feel when you bend forwards. It restricts your ability to move the lower, or lumbar, section of your spine. Certain muscles in your back will hurt when pressed.
  • Pelvic girdle pain (PGP), which results from lax ligaments and loose joints in your pelvis. You may feel pain at the back of your pelvis, where there is a joint between your hip bone and the bottom bone in your spine. This joint is called the sacroiliac joint. The pain may be stabbing, shooting, dull or burning, and it may come and go. PGP can radiate into the back of your thigh. This is why some GPs and practice nurses may confuse it with sciatica.


Please note -
These are general exercises, seek advice if you are unsure.

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