PD_Fitness and Wellbeing_67050 If you are pregnant and suffering from back pain, you are not alone. About half of all expectant mothers will experience back pain during their pregnancy. The changes in your body weight and center of gravity, ligament laxity, and poor abdominal muscle tone during pregnancy all put added strain on your back.

But there are things you can do during your pregnancy to prevent or decrease back pain. By keeping yourself healthy and using strategies to reduce the strain on your back, you can have a more comfortable pregnancy.

What Causes Back Pain During Pregnancy?  

During a healthy pregnancy, you will gain approximately 25-35 pounds. This added weight must be supported by your spine, and can result in severe discomfort in your lower back. In addition, as your baby grows during pregnancy, your center of gravity is shifted forward. This shift increases the stress on your joints and causes your back to curve forward. Back pain can also be triggered by poor posture or stress.

Strategies to Prevent and Relieve Back Pain  

While you cannot prevent the weight gain and shift of center of gravity that occurs during pregnancy, there are some things you can do to alleviate the extra stress on your back.

Exercise  

Regular exercise during your pregnancy will strengthen your muscles and increase your flexibility, relieving the stress placed on your back from pregnancy-related weight gain. A study in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics found that women who participated in an exercise program three times a week for 12 weeks during the second half of pregnancy had a significant decrease in the severity of low back pain.

If you are able to exercise during pregnancy, walking, swimming, and stationary cycling are safe, effective cardiovascular exercises. In addition, abdominal and back strengthening exercises can provide muscle strength to support your growing belly. Your doctor or physical therapist can recommend an exercise program that is safe for you.

Hot/Cold Therapy  

If your pain is only in one area, heat therapy or cold therapy may help. Place a cold compress on the sore area several times a day for up to 20 minutes. After 2-3 days of cold treatment, begin applying heat for 20 minutes several times a day. Since he