The American Chiropractic Association reports that more than 31 million Americans struggle with chronic back pain on a daily basis. You may not normally struggle with back pain, but suddenly find yourself with it during pregnancy. Many pregnant women develop back pain during the second and third trimesters, as the baby is growing in size and weight, while displacing the mother’s hips and back. Here are a few tips for relieving that pain so your pregnancy is enjoyable instead of painful!
The American Pregnancy Association reports that 50-70% of pregnant women deal with back pain during pregnancy. That pain can build gradually as a pregnancy progresses because of several factors. One, there is a baby that is growing both in size and in weight. The added weight in the pelvic region will place added strain in the lower back. It’s part of the reason that when pregnancy back pain happens, it’s centralized in the lower and central back.
Depending on where a baby is sitting inside your womb, it could be pressing on your spine, or it could be resting outwards more in the front of your body. Some women experience spinal pain and their doctors recommend specifics such as not lying on the back to rest for naps or nighttime sleep. This is actually a common recommendation, or even rule, for many pregnant women, as the umbilical cord and other vital parts for the baby can rest right on a mother’s spine, cutting off nutrients. It’s also part of the reason a pregnant mother will feel more comfortable lying on her side than on her back to rest.
As an infant grows in the womb, the pelvic bones will adjust and will expand to make room for the fetus and to get the body ready for birth. Everything starts to loosen up and expand for that time. You may even notice that your legs, hips and back start to make more popping sounds when you move or they feel looser than usual. This is normal. Dealing with pregnancy back pain is also normal, but it doesn’t mean that you have to deal with it on a daily basis.
Studies show that your back and spine works efficiently and feels its best when it follows a straight line. Stress on your muscles, joints and tissues disperses evenly, the joints receive less force placed on them and you have reduced inflammation in your body. The goal is to keep the body aligned correctly so that you enjoy your pregnancy and have fewer back pain flare ups and health issues in the future. Here are some tips we suggest for good back health during pregnancy:
Before, during and after pregnancy, when you focus on your weight, you always want it to be from a health standpoint. You will get your body back at some point and it does take time. Don’t make your focus losing 20 or 30 pounds all at once. It’s not realistic and it’s not healthy. Losing too much weight too fast can stress out your body, will dry up your milk supply and it can wear you out. Aim for a pound or 2 a week AFTER you’ve gotten to the 6-week postnatal mark and have been cleared by a medical professional to start exercising safely.
Until that time, make sure you’re eating right and sleeping well. Doing these two things alone will help you lose any extra weight that you’re not needing that could strain your back and spine. That weight was needed to nourish a baby and was a good thing. No matter if you’re pregnant or not, having extra pounds will contribute to a higher rate of joint pain and back issues. The good thing is that we already told you what you can do to reduce your risk: exercise and eat well. You’ll have a healthy postnatal body, your energy will be higher, you’ll recover faster and your body will heal the way it’s supposed to.
Make sure you aim for 2-4 servings of veggies and fruits a day, with about 4 servings of proteins. Eat healthy fats and carbs and limit sugar foods and drinks. Get 6-8 hours of sleep if it’s at all possible. These simple habits are the ones we recommend over and over no matter our patient’s age, health conditions and if they are pregnant or not. They are that effective! If you want professional help with your nutrition, your back health during (or after) pregnancy or you have health questions, call Olathe Chiropractic today at (913) 764-9393!