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Pregnant and suffering with back pain? Here are some simple techniques to help you through the pain from certified massage therapist Sandee Koehler.
Sandee Koehler

Pregnant and suffering with back pain? Here are some simple techniques to help you through the pain from certified massage therapist Sandee Koehler.
What causes back pain?
Up to 88 percent of expecting mothers complain of back pain during pregnancy, especially in the second and third trimester. It is caused partly by the influx of hormones which prepare our bodies for pregnancy and childbirth.

These hormones, estrogen, progesterone and relaxin, affect the composition of ligaments and tendons to allow for greater elasticity -- this allows for more movement in the joints and greater space in the abdomen.

This excess mobility can cause spasms in the muscles. The ligaments supporting the lumbar or low back area and the pelvis are particularly stressed during pregnancy. The changes in our posture to accommodate a shift in our center of gravity from a growing abdomen also can cause back pain. In fact, the more weight we gain, the worse our posture becomes, thus increasing back pain.

Consider massage
A simple way to decrease the general discomfort due to a growing abdomen is general relaxing massage. Can't afford to go to a professional massage therapist? Fear not! There are things you can have your partner do at home to make you feel better! First, get comfortable! It is recommended to lay on your left side to keep the baby off the vascular structures, with the use of pillows between the knees and supporting the abdomen, if necessary.

Sitting is another option, making sure you are comfortable and well supported. Keep in mind that you will not be able to tolerate an hour-long massage -- massages during pregnancy are kept in short duration, and changes in positioning may be necessary. Remember, comfort is the key.

Your partner must understand that this is a relaxation technique. At no time should your partner use deep techniques that you usually live for. Light, gentle stroking or light kneading in your shoulder and your low back, and yes, even your buttocks area, can significantly decrease your pain. Avoid the temptation to "work out" those tight areas. Be content with the loving strokes of your partner. There will be time enough for those stubborn knots once your baby is born.

Massaging your abdomen is useful in the second and third trimester. It can decrease constipation and increase relaxation to you as well as the baby. It also creates the sense of bonding. When massaging the abdomen, use gentle sweeping motion of your hands in a clockwise direction.

Massage should only be performed in the second and third trimesters. If you are a high risk or have experienced a miscarriage or have any medical problems during your pregnancy, consult with your physician before starting. Massages should be limited to 15 to 20 minutes in duration, with frequent rests or positioning changes, as necessary.

You should stop your massage if you feel nauseous, light-headed, uncomfortable or have any other symptoms. Women who experience heartburn during pregnancy should wait two hours after a meal before receiving a massage. Women with diabetes, who are cleared by their physician, should have a snack just prior to the massage.

So ladies, get comfortable! Massage is a great way to relax and enjoy time with your partner and yes, with your

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