Here Are Some Coping Tips For Back Pain.

Ann Douglas, author of The Mother of All Pregnancy Books: The Ultimate Guide to Conception, Birth and Everything in Between and The Mother of All Baby Books: The Ultimate Guide to Your Baby's First Year, is here at Pregnancy & Baby! Read Ann's advice on everything from keeping romance alive amidst the structure and stress of baby-making to weathering the storms of morning sickness to preparing for the birth of your dreams.
Ann Douglas

More Mom's the Word by Ann Douglas

The pain game
The physical changes your body undergoes during pregnancy can pull a real number on your back. Loose ligaments, overstretched abdominal muscles, an increasingly heavy uterus and changes to both your posture and the curvature of your spine all put an added strain on the muscles in your back. What's truly surprising about back pain during pregnancy is the fact that approximately half of moms-to-be manage to get off scot free!

Back pain tends to be at its worst during the second and third trimesters as the various physiological changes of pregnancy really start to kick in. It's more likely to be a problem for you if you have a history of back problems or you happen to be carrying more than one baby. Contrary to popular belief, your age, height, weight and the weight of your baby have little bearing on the amount of back pain -- if any -- you experience.

But assuming you're one of the unlucky gals hit with back pain during pregnancy, here are some tips on minimizing the amount of discomfort you experience.

Good shoes
Ditch the high heels in favor of a more back-friendly pair of shoes. Pregnancy and high heels tend to make a rather deadly combination. Not only are you more likely to take a tumble (the result of changes to your center of gravity): wearing high heels tends to place added strain on your lower back and sacrum (the solid flat area at the bottom of the spine that forms the back of the pelvis). And given that a pregnant woman's feet tend to swell during pregnancy, the last thing you want to be doing is squeezing your poor feet into a too-small pair of shoes. (Remember what Cinderella's ugly stepsisters went through?)

Ask for help if you need to lift a heavy object. If you insist on playing the pregnant martyr, your back will pay the price! So skip the heavy objects entirely and be sure to use proper form when you bend down to lift light objects: instead of bending from the waist, you should bend your knees and squat, keeping your back straight.

Keep a stool handy if you know you're going to be standing for an extended period of time. This will help to reduce some of the strain on your back.

Use a pillow
Make sure that the chair you use most at home or at work provides plenty of back support. If it doesn't, you'll either want to purchase a special chair form or get in the habit of tucking a small pillow behind your lower back while you're sitting down.

Get in the habit of tucking a pillow between your knees when you're sleeping on your side. You won't strain your back quite as much. And make sure that the mattress that you're sleeping on is firm enough to keep you comfortable. (If it's getting pretty saggy, ask someone to help you tuck a board between your mattress and box spring. That'll buy you an extra bit of firmness.) Do exercise designed to strengthen the muscles in your back and abdomen. See Fit to Deliver by Karen Nordahl, MD, Susi Kerr, BA and Carl Petersen, BSc, for a comprehensive prenatal exercise program.

Apply heat or cold to the area that's causing you pain, or have your partner massage your back. If that doesn't seem to be doing the trick, ask your doctor or midwife to recommend a good chiropractor.

Finally, try not to get too discouraged. You'll notice a dramatic improvement in the amount of back pain you're experiencing after you give birth. With any luck, your back pain will be a thing of the past by the time your baby is six months old. PregnancyAndBaby.com


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