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7 Tips To Avoid Pregnancy Related Back Pain

Pregnancy-blogBack pain is a common pregnancy symptom and doesn’t always disappear when your baby arrives. Hormones in your body causes ligaments to get more lax and it becomes difficult for your pelvis to keep strong. Baby starts growing and you gain weight which changes your centre of gravity and posture. These factors combined all come together to cause 50-80% of pregnant women back pain every year. Here are some top tips to help prevent pregnancy related back pain!

1. Sleep Support

Your mattress should be supportive and comfortable.

Whether you’re pregnant or not the best position to sleep in is on your side.

Lying on your side - This ensures your spine is in the least stressful position possible. Lying on the LEFT hand side ensures adequate blood flow and nutrients to the uterus. Ideally our spine should remain straight/horizontal when viewed from behind. This means a pillow should be chosen which fills the space between your shoulder and ear. Also a pillow can be placed between your knees ensuring as little torsion as possible is put on your low back and pelvis.

2. Wear the proper shoes

Wear low heeled supportive shoes for extra stability. Flats such as your flip-flops and ballet pumps will put more strain on your calf muscles and low back. High heels will pitch your weight forward on the balls of your feet and destabilise you.

3. Regular exercise

Try to plan and do regular gentle exercise. Staying active with pregnancy will boost not only your own health, but the health of your unborn baby.

The fitter you are and the more muscle tone you have during pregnancy, the more you will be able to cope with the body’s postural changes. It will also help you cope with labour and get back into shape after birth.

Keep up your normal daily exercise (sport, running, dancing, walking) for as long as you feel comfortable. Gentle exercise such as swimming or specialised ante natal aqua aerobics or pregnancy yoga are beneficial.

If you weren’t active before don’t suddenly take up strenuous exercise. Begin with no more than 15 minutes of continuous exercise 3 times a week and build up to no more than 30 minute sessions.

For specific exercises for your back consult your chiropractor.

4. Posture

One of the key contributions to a healthy pregnancy is good posture. Proper alignment can decrease back pain.

How does pregnancy affect your posture?
The weight of the baby causes your lower back to sway as your centre of gravity moves forward. Your abdominal muscles become stretched as the baby grows, so less able to contract and keep your back in proper alignment. Hormone levels increase in pregnancy and cause joints and ligaments to loosen.

Standing Posture
pegnancy-good-posture(Picture credit to the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited)

– In order to counteract the increased low back curve, straighten your upper back so your ear, shoulder and hip are aligned.

– Tuck your pelvis under using pelvic tilt – tightening your pelvic floor muscles and your tummy muscles will help support the back

– Maintain the pelvic tilt at all times so that your lower back does not sway forward.

– Stand evenly on both feet, knees relaxed

Sitting Posture
Sitting on a chair all day actually puts more strain on your spine than anything else. Choose a chair that supports the back

– Ideally your back should be slightly arched maintaining the pelvic tilt with your chest pointing straight ahead rather than towards your bump

– Part your legs slightly to allow for the bump, sitting into the chair so your thigh is supported by the chair.

Avoid

– Crossing your legs – it can cause your pelvis to tilt forwards which exacerbates these strained back muscles

– Slouching – e.g. in a sofa chair or sofa

Encourage

– Using a birth ball encourages good posture

– Walking – If you have to sit for long periods at work, try to get up and walk around every 20 minutes

5. Move correctly

Lifting
Avoid heavy lifting. If you have to lift or carry anything hold it close to your body.

When lifting:

– Spread your feet apart, squat down and lift with your legs bending your knees

– Bring the object close to you as you straighten your legs and lift

– Avoid twisting.

Shopping
When shopping carry a bag in each hand, or use a rucksack which helps the back muscles to work better.

Work
If working don’t overdo it and know your limits – seek help from those around you.

Getting out of a car
Turn your hips, pelvis and back in the same direction while maintaining a straight back.

Getting out of bed
First roll to your side, and then use your arms to push from the bed.

6. Kegal Exercises

A great way to strengthen and prepare the pelvic floor muscles for delivery is to do pelvic floor strengthening exercises known as Kegals.

The pelvic floor consists of layers of muscles that stretch like a hammock from the pubic bone to the end of the backbone. The pelvic floor supports your bladder, bowel and uterus and come under great strain in pregnancy and childbirth.

If your pelvic floor muscles are weak, you may find that you leak urine when you cough, strain or sneeze, known as stress incontinence. By strengthening the pelvic floor muscles you can help reduce or avoid stress incontinence after pregnancy. All pregnant women should do Kegal exercises.

Contract the muscles around the urethra and vagina – imagine you are trying to prevent yourself from urinating. Hold for several seconds, then release. Try to do three sets of eight squeezes every day.

7. Get adjusted! Chiropractic Care

Yes chiropractic is an important part of preventative pregnancy care and having regular spinal check ups can prevent pain from occurring in the latter stages of pregnancy. All our Chiropractors at our Award Winning Chiropractic Clinics: the Castle Lane Clinic and the Fordingbridge Chiropractic Clinic are trained to treat pregnant women during this special time, so rest assured you are in good hands.

It makes sense to have a check-up in the early stages before the baby grows as your posture and weight balance is going to change throughout the period of your pregnancy. Getting it right in the early days can pay dividends later on.

Women experience an increase in lumbar curving during pregnancy due to increased weight of the baby being carried in front. This puts more pressure on some of the joints of the spine causing discomfort, and for some women pain. At our Bournemouth and Fordingbridge Chiropractic Clinics we use gentle pregnancy techniques adapted to each stage of the pregnancy. As the baby grows the burden on your spine changes and as chiropractors we are trained to gently help your body move better.

A recent study showed pregnant women who received chiropractic care had a greater ability to relax their pelvic floor muscles at rest. The relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles may also enhance your chances of having a natural complication free childbirth. It makes sense to stabilise the pelvis and make sure you are not leaning to one side or too far forward so as to be putting too much of a strain on your lower back. Your time during your pregnancy should be a trouble free one and one for you to enjoy. So give us a call and let us explain everything to you and give you a demonstration of our treatments before you decide  on a chiropractic care.

Chiropractic overall prepares the body to be strong, supple and as balanced as possible for a happy, healthy pregnancy.

(Bournemouth) Castle Lane Clinic 01202 300320
(Fordingbridge) Fordingbridge Chiropractic Clinic 01425 652951

Compiled using information from the following sources:
British Chiropractic Association https://chiropractic-uk.co.uk/
International Chiropractic Paediatric Association: http://icpa4kids.org/
NHS Choices http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-exercise.aspx
Pelvic floor functional changes with spinal manipulation in pregnant and non-pregnant women: A pilot study. JMPT 2016. In Press

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