Low back pain can be common for many women throughout any stage of pregnancy. In fact, at least ⅓ of women experience low back pain at one point during their pregnancy. Throughout pregnancy, our bodies change due to the release of the hormone relaxin, which causes ligaments to relax and can decrease stability of the spine. In addition to this, an overall increase of weight throughout pregnancy can add additional stress to the lumbar spine. As women get further along in their pregnancy, adaptations may need to be made for the safety of mom and baby.
There are several ways to prevent or improve low back pain throughout pregnancy. Sleeping can become very difficult late into the second and third trimesters. Try using multiple pillows or a pregnancy pillow to provide support between the knees when side sleeping. Lying flat is not usually recommended after the first trimester, however you may consider propping up with pillows and using a pillow under the knees for improved lumbar support.
Throughout pregnancy, it is important to maintain or initiate gentle exercise to improve mobility and cardiovascular health. Walking, swimming, or yoga can be great ways to get your heart pumping while keeping you and baby safe. In addition, we have created a video series below with helpful stretches and strengthening techniques to improve low back pain throughout pregnancy.
Katonis, P., Kampouroglou, A., Aggelopoulos, A., Kakavelakis, K., Lykoudis, S., Makrigiannakis, A., & Alpantaki, K. (2011). Pregnancy-related low back pain. Hippokratia, 15(3), 205–210.
Best sleeping positions during pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association. (2022, March 25). Retrieved March 30, 2022, from https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/sleeping-positions-while-pregnant/