Pregnancy and Low Back Pain

Posted on July 3, 2014

Pregnant? We’ve Got Your Back

When you are pregnant, your body changes to accommodate the growing baby and you may experience discomfort in your low back, pelvis, or hips. 50-70% of women experience back pain during their pregnancy – often in the third trimester due to hormonal changes in your ligaments causing more laxity (looseness) in your joints.

If you have low back pain during pregnancy, a physical therapist can alleviate pain by:

Description of Late Pregnancy

  • Determining appropriate exercises to provide stability and strength in your pelvic floor and core muscles.
  • Evaluating your symptoms to decide if a sacro-iliac belt (SI belt) would be beneficial to provide stability to your pelvis as joints become more unstable and the load on your body increases as the baby grows.
  • Teaching you body mechanics to protect your back and body – both while pregnant and after you deliver.

During pregnancy, you are preparing for the arrival of your bundle of joy and that involves acquiring lots of baby gear including strollers, car seat/carriers, and more. It is important to consider your comfort and body when selecting your equipment. Here’s a few things to consider:

  • Stroller: Pick one that allows you to stand tall and take a normal, comfortable stride. You shouldn’t have to hunch forward to reach the stroller! When you’re pushing your baby, make sure to keep your head up, shoulders back, and elbows slightly bent.
  • Car seat/carrier: Remember your body mechanics! Core is engaged, bend at the waist (not the back), and keep the carrier as close to your body as you can. When moving your baby in or out of the carrier, try to do so at waist height (counter, table) so you don’t have to squat down.
  • Changing table: Pick a table that is the best height for you! The baby should be centered in front of your body slightly lower than your elbows. Keep all your diaper changing tools within arms reach – no twisting! You can also put one foot up on a low stool to help prevent low back pain.
  • Carrying: Keep your child close to your body and as centered as you can – avoid the one hip carry! Keep your core muscles engaged and always bend at the waist when lifting your child up from the floor or crib.

If you are pregnant and having pain or just had a baby and all the lifting or carrying is giving you back pain, call us today for an evaluation of your core strength and body mechanics!

– Erin Bell, DPT

Resources:

  1. American Physical Therapy Association (n.d.). Parent’s Guide to Safe Use of Baby Gear

Photo courtesy of: Fairview Health Library

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