Back and Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy

March 29, 2019


As pregnancy progresses into the second and third trimesters, many women experience back and pelvic pain. Such discomfort can have a big impact on life during pregnancy. While it’s not always avoidable, there are some factors that increase the likelihood that an expecting mother may have to deal with this sort of pain.

Pre-Pregnancy BMI

Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.1 According to the National Institutes of Health, a healthy BMI for an adult woman pre-pregnancy is 18.5 to 24.9.1 Research suggests that pregnancy-related pelvic pain may increase with a higher pre- pregnancy BMI.2 This finding highlights the importance of implementing healthy habits before pregnancy. Women who are thinking about becoming pregnant and have a BMI that classifies them as overweight or obese should talk to their health care provider.

Sedentary Lifestyle

As women progress through pregnancy and their babies develop, they begin to gain weight, particularly in the second and third trimesters. Back pain most commonly starts between the fifth and seventh month of pregnancy.3 Research suggests that activity level may be related to the onset of back pain during pregnancy.3 A sedentary lifestyle brings an increased risk of back pain compared to a more active lifestyle.3 Strengthening the abdominal, back and pelvic muscles before and during pregnancy may provide better support to the spine, improve posture and increase weight bearing ability.3

Posture Changes

During pregnancy women experience changes to the thoracic and lumbar regions of the spine.4 The thoracic region runs from the base of the neck down to the abdomen. It connects to the lumbar region, which refers to the part of the lower back where the spine curves inward. A study that examined pain intensity, spinal curvature, and balance and gait ability found that there were significant differences between non-pregnant women and women in their second or third trimesters of pregnancy.4 As the spinal curvature increased from the second to third trimester, pain intensity in the lower back and pelvis increased.4

Hormone Changes

Pregnancy hormones may be another factor in back or pelvic pain. To prepare for the passage of the baby through the birth canal, the hormone relaxin is released that relaxes the ligaments in the joints of the pelvis.5 This loosening is a way for the body to naturally prepare for labor and delivery, as it allows the joints to become more flexible.5 Unfortunately, it may cause back pain if the joints become too mobile.5

Muscle Weakness, Strain and Separation

The main cause of back pain during pregnancy is strain on the back muscles.5 As a baby develops during pregnancy, the uterus becomes heavier. The increased weight, which is carried in the front, causes pregnant women to naturally bend forward.5 Because of the shift in their center of gravity, women adjust their posture to maintain their balance. They may find themselves leaning backward, which makes the back muscles work harder. This extra strain can lead to pain, soreness and stiffness.5

Similarly, weakened abdominal muscles may also play a role in back pain during pregnancy.5 The abdominal muscles support the spine, but during pregnancy these muscles become stretched and may weaken.5 These changes also can increase the risk of back injury during exercise.5

Support for a Healthy Pregnancy

If you have severe pain in the back or pelvis, or pain that persists for more than two weeks, talk to your health care provider. It may be a symptom of preterm labor or an underlying health issue, such as a urinary tract infection.5

Once any serious causes are ruled out, your health care provider may recommend low-impact exercise, pillows to support the spine, or use of a heating pad to help with back or pelvic pain.5 Wearing shoes with good arch support and using chairs with good back support may help prevent back pain during pregnancy.5 Side sleeping with a pillow support between the legs or sleeping on a firm mattress may also help.5

The majority of treatment strategies center on pain prevention because treatment late into pregnancy is often too difficult to implement.3 This is why it’s so important to implement healthy habits, such as regular exercise and eating a well-balanced diet, before pregnancy.

Prenatal Vitamins Support Positive Pregnancy Outcomes

This post is brought to you by Prenate® Vitamin Family, a line of prenatal vitamins. Incorporating a prenatal vitamin can help fill nutritional gaps and support the growth and development of your baby. The nutritional forms in the prescription prenatal vitamins offered by the Prenate® are selected for their tolerability and absorbability. Plus, they are formulated with the latest recommendations from obstetric and pediatric organizations in mind. Talk to your doctor to see if the Prenate® Vitamin Family’s prenatal vitamins are right for you.

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IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

WARNING: Accidental overdose of iron-containing products is a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under 6. Keep this product out of reach of children. In case of accidental overdose, call a doctor or poison control center immediately.

WARNING: Ingestion of more than 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids (such as DHA) per day has been shown to have potential antithrombotic effects, including an increased bleeding time and International Normalized Ratio (INR). Administration of omega-3 fatty acids should be avoided in patients taking anticoagulants and in those known to have an inherited or acquired predisposition to bleeding.

This site and its contents are an information resource only, and are neither intended to nor should be used in replacement of your doctor or other prescribing professional’s medical guidance, recommendations or advice. Neither this site nor its information should be used or relied upon for any diagnostic, medical, treatment, nutritional or other purpose. All aspects of pregnancy, including whether pregnancy is right for you, and the nourishment and care of your child, should be made with your doctor and other appropriate medical professional, and in consideration of your and your child’s particular medical history. Avion Pharmaceuticals, LLC (“Avion”) makes no representation, warranty or other undertaking that this site or its information are appropriate for you or your child’s specific needs or issues, and further expressly disclaims all damages, losses, injuries or liability whatsoever incurred or alleged to have been incurred in consequence of your reliance on the information on this site. Avion does not endorse any test, procedure, treatment, remedy, therapy, cure, nutritional regimen, method or other activity or undertaking that you and/or your doctor or other medical professional may elect or recommend. By visiting this site you agree to these terms and conditions and acknowledge that you have read and understand the same. These terms and conditions, together with any information on this site, may be amended, restated or otherwise changed from time to time and at any time by Avion within the sole, absolute and uncontrolled exercise of its discretion. You acknowledge and agree that Avion has no duty or obligation to keep you informed of any amendments to, restatements of or other changes to these terms and conditions or this site, and that you are solely and exclusively responsible for apprising yourself of the same.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

WARNING: Accidental overdose of iron-containing products is a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under 6. Keep this product out of reach of children. In case of accidental overdose, call a doctor or poison control center immediately.

WARNING: Ingestion of more than 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids (such as DHA) per day has been shown to have potential antithrombotic effects, including an increased bleeding time and International Normalized Ratio (INR). Administration of omega-3 fatty acids should be avoided in patients taking anticoagulants and in those known to have an inherited or acquired predisposition to bleeding.

This site and its contents are an information resource only, and are neither intended to nor should be used in replacement of your doctor or other prescribing professional’s medical guidance, recommendations or advice. Neither this site nor its information should be used or relied upon for any diagnostic, medical, treatment, nutritional or other purpose. All aspects of pregnancy, including whether pregnancy is right for you, and the nourishment and care of your child, should be made with your doctor and other appropriate medical professional, and in consideration of your and your child’s particular medical history. Avion Pharmaceuticals, LLC (“Avion”) makes no representation, warranty or other undertaking that this site or its information are appropriate for you or your child’s specific needs or issues, and further expressly disclaims all damages, losses, injuries or liability whatsoever incurred or alleged to have been incurred in consequence of your reliance on the information on this site. Avion does not endorse any test, procedure, treatment, remedy, therapy, cure, nutritional regimen, method or other activity or undertaking that you and/or your doctor or other medical professional may elect or recommend. By visiting this site you agree to these terms and conditions and acknowledge that you have read and understand the same. These terms and conditions, together with any information on this site, may be amended, restated or otherwise changed from time to time and at any time by Avion within the sole, absolute and uncontrolled exercise of its discretion. You acknowledge and agree that Avion has no duty or obligation to keep you informed of any amendments to, restatements of or other changes to these terms and conditions or this site, and that you are solely and exclusively responsible for apprising yourself of the same.

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