I'm 7 months' pregnant and my back is killing me! How can I get some relief?
Many pregnant women have achy backs as their bellies grow larger and their muscles and spine strain to carry the extra weight.
During pregnancy, the body also produces the hormone relaxin, which helps prepare the body for childbirth. One of the effects of relaxin is the loosening of ligaments throughout the body, making pregnant women less stable and more prone to injury, especially in their backs.
Here are some ways to help ease your back pain:
- Try not to lift anything that weighs more than a few pounds. If you have to pick up something heavy (or a small someone), make sure to lift correctly. Don't bend down at the waist; instead, bend at your knees, squat down, and lift with your legs, not your back.
- Don't sit or stand for long periods. If you can't get around it, use a box or stool to prop up one foot when standing or both feet when sitting. If you must stand for a long time, make sure to take frequent breaks.
- Sit in ergonomic chairs with supportive backs or put a small pillow at the small of your back. And try to sit up straight.
- Stand up straight. Resist the urge to push your belly far forward.
- Apply a warm towel, warm water bottle, or heating pad on the lowest setting.
- Wear an abdominal support garment or maternity pants with wide elastic bands that fit under the belly.
- Don't wear high heels. Shoes with low heels and good arch support are the way to go.
- Get a firm mattress or put a board between your mattress and box spring.
- Sleep on your side, with at least one knee bent. Try using a pregnancy pillow to make sleeping more comfortable. Or put a pillow between your knees and another under your belly.
- Ask your doctor about recommended stretching exercises and if any low-impact exercises are safe for you — regular exercise can help with back pain.
- Get a gentle pregnancy massage if your doctor says it's OK.
- Don't take any medications without checking with your doctor first.
Back pain also can be a sign of something else, like labor starting or a urinary tract infection. If you have any questions or concerns, severe pain, pain that isn't getting better, or additional symptoms, talk to your doctor.
Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: May 2012
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|Maternal and Child Health Bureau This U.S. government agency is charged with promoting and improving the health of mothers and children.|
|American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) This site offers information on numerous health issues. The women's health section includes readings on pregnancy, labor, delivery, postpartum care, breast health, menopause, contraception, and more.|
|MyPlate for Moms MyPlate for Moms tailors the USDA's food guide to suit the individual needs of pregnant and nursing women.|
|10 Things That Might Surprise You About Being Pregnant Despite all the books, magazines, and pamphlets devoted to the topic of pregnancy, this 9-month period can take any soon-to-be parent by surprise.|
|Exercising During Pregnancy Most women benefit greatly from exercising throughout their pregnancies. But during that time, you'll need to make a few adjustments to your normal exercise routine.|
|Staying Healthy During Pregnancy During your pregnancy, you'll probably get advice from everyone. But staying healthy depends on you - read about the many ways to keep you and your baby as healthy as possible.|
|Pregnancy & Newborn Center Advice and information for expectant and new parents.|
|Pregnancy Precautions: FAQs Questions regarding what you can and can't do during pregnancy abound. Knowing what could truly be harmful to your baby versus what's no real cause for concern is key to keeping your sanity throughout the 40 weeks.|
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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