Oh, my aching back!

During the second half of pregnancy, and especially the 3rd trimester, more than 50 percent of moms-to-be complain of back pain. The reason for this is three-fold, explains Dr. Sears:

  • Your ligaments are relaxing to allow for easier passage of the baby through the pelvis. However, they loosen up everywhere, putting more strain on your muscles, especially those supporting your spine.
  • Your overstretched abdominal muscles force you to rely more on your back to support your weight.
  • The change in your posture and the curvature of your spine creates still more work for the back muscles.

6 Simple Strategies to Prevent Backache:

1. Perform low-impact aerobic exercises such as swimming and biking to strengthen abdominal and lower back muscles.

2. Wear sensible shoes. Both high heels and totally flat shoes can strain back muscles. For every day wear walking shoes with a supportive arch, and for dressy occasions, try shoes with wide heels that are no higher than two inches.

3. Avoid jogging on hard surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt, which can be jarring to the spine. Instead, try fast walking on natural surfaces like grass, earth or sand, which are easier on the muscles and joints than pounding a hard surface.

4. Don’t twist your spine. When you stand or sleep be sure your shoulders and hips are aligned. Avoid awkward reaches, such as getting a heavy box down from the top of a closet or lifting a sleeping toddler from a car seat. If you must, see if you can rethink the job. For example, consider unbuckling a toddler’s car seat and turning the seat toward you before you lift your child out.

5. Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time. When you do sit, use a footstool to raise your knees a bit higher than your hips, which takes the pressure off your lower back. If you need to stand in one position for a while, put one foot forward and place most of your weight on it for a few minutes, then switch your weight to the other foot. Better yet, prop the forward foot up on a step, stool, or cabinet ledge.

6. Sleep on your side, and frequently shift sleeping positions.

4 Safe Ways to Treat Backache:

1. Rest. Usually, simply resting strained muscles will ease the pain.

2. Soak in warm water. Try soaking in a warm tub or standing in the shower with the warm water streaming over the painful area.

3. Pack the back. Many mothers swear by a hot or cold pack (or alternating both) on the painful area. If baby pressing against your spine seems to be the cause of pain, as is common during the final month, try the knee-chest position for a while.

4. Massage it. Ask your mate to give you a back massage. Plus, practicing these back massages now may turn him into a pro who can help ease the pain of back labor.

For more pregnancy info and advice, visit Ask Dr. Sears!

Feature image from Woman’s Day

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