Low back and hip pain is very common for women during pregnancy especially in the third trimester. It is no surprise as it involves gaining body weight especially forward of the hips which will result in a change in the centre of gravity. It will move forward relative to your feet creating significant postural loading in the lumbar spine and pelvis.
There is also a huge change in your body’s hormones. The hormone relaxin is released which will loosen your pelvic joints and ligaments to allow an easier birth process. This will affect the low back.
Some simple tips and tricks to try and help your pain during pregnancy are outlined below.
Posture – Try keep it as good as possible.
During pregnancy, your centre of gravity shifts forward as your baby grows. Constantly holding your weight with your low back and pelvic muscles can cause strain and stress on the area. You should try and stay in good posture consistently avoiding this loading. By habit stand up tall and hold your chest up rather than slouching over. Don’t lock the knees. Remember that as the body grows posture becomes more difficult. Be as vigilant with this as possible.
Look to the feet – Footwear and time spent standing
Low heel shoes with proper arch support are a good way to take the increased load off the feet. Wearing unsupportive shoes or high heels puts a lot of load on the lumbar spine as well. Get the foundation right!
Sleeping postures – Side is best
Make sure to sleep only on your side and keep one or both of your knees bent. Pillows are a great support between your bent knees, behind your back and under your belly and there are some good specific pillows around for this. Sleep is important for mum and the growing baby so to be comfortable is also important.
Gentle exercise – Yoga and/or Pilates
Regular and consistent gentle exercise is important for mobility of the spine and pelvis and can help a lot with pain. At Perth Allied Health Clinic, we recommend finding a good pregnancy yoga or Pilates instructor to help give you strategies and exercises to improve your body’s control of the hips, core and pelvis. Gentle massage, hydrotherapy and gentle walking are all good options for mobility.
Heavy lifting (rule of thumb, don’t change what you would normally do)
Make sure you don’t try lifting anything significantly heavy. (We have seen many mum’s continue exercise, training and weightlifting programs but you should consult your Dr to see if this is ok for you) The general rule is don’t do anything drastically different than what you did pre-pregnancy. If you do resistance training, make sure to lift correctly. Avoid bending down at the waist. Bend at your knees and squat down instead. Use your legs and not your back in the lifting process especially is already sore.
Should I see a Dr or Chiro or Physio?
Occasionally there are more serious reasons for your low back pain during pregnancy. Our team are trained to identify if this is the case. Pre-term labour and UTI’s examples of Dr related issues during pregnancy that can show with low back pain. If you have fever, vaginal bleeding, or burning during urination, call your doctor right away.
If you have further questions about back pain during pregnancy, please contact the team at Perth Allied Health Clinic.