Updated: Apr 24, 2020
So, what are some of the common causes of low back pain in both pregnancy and postpartum and what can be done to alleviate some of this pain?
1. Weight Gain
Weight gain is basically unavoidable during pregnancy – you’re growing a human inside your belly! There are so many factors that can affect your weight gain during pregnancy and some women will gain more weight than others and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. But the extra weight can also result in pain in your lower back. This can carry over into postpartum as weight loss is not always quick. Especially as activity is limited in the first few weeks postpartum, the extra weight may not fall off immediately and can continue to aggravate your back.
As your pregnancy progresses, your center of gravity shifts. If you’re not careful and mindful about maintaining good posture, your butt will tuck under and your spine will round, which puts a lot of pressure on that lower section of your back. It’s only natural that you will feel like this is the posture you should have – a pregnancy waddle of sorts. So, you have to put some thought into carrying yourself properly. As a postpartum mom, you do a lot of sitting – giving yourself time to heal, feeding the baby, resting. And again, if you’re not mindful, your sitting posture can affect your back. Shoulders rounded from nursing or feeding the baby, feet constantly stretched straight out ahead of you – this kind of sitting posture will continue to put pressure and strain on your lower back.
3. Weak Muscles
Many women don’t know where to begin with exercise when they are pregnant, so not much is done, or very light exercise is done and muscle mass is not maintained. Weak core, hip and leg muscles can all contribute to how your back feels. If these muscles are not exercised and strength kept up during pregnancy, you will most likely struggle with low back pain in both pregnancy and postpartum.
Relaxin is a hormone that is released in your body during pregnancy, which helps loosen and relax the joints, which allows your body to grow to accommodate baby. However, the loosening of your joints can also cause pain and discomfort.
1. Better Posture
Obviously, no one will have perfect posture all the time. I just want you to think throughout the day of how your posture is and correct it as needed. Is your butt tucked under? Are your shoulders rolled forward? Do a quick head to toe check and make any adjustments that need to be made.
I can’t emphasize enough how important exercise is both in pregnancy and postpartum as well. Maintaining strength during pregnancy will help with posture and delivery and will set you up for a successful return to exercise postpartum. The first 4-6 weeks postpartum should be focused on healing and recovery, but you can work on breathing and connecting to your pelvic floor and reconnecting mind and body.
3. Proper Daily Movements
Daily movements are another thing, like posture, that you’re going to have to think about. Instead of bending over at the waist with straight legs and picking things up from the floor, bend at your knees and squat down to pick it up. Instead of twisting at the waist to pick up something slightly behind you, take a second to turn your whole body to face that direction. Small changes like this will help put a lot less strain on your back.
4. Support Belt
Support belts can be a great way to alleviate back pain, especially during pregnancy, although there are support options available postpartum as well.
If you’re experiencing back pain and you’re pregnant or postpartum, take some time to evaluate where you’re at. How is your posture? Are you exercising regularly? Are you moving properly throughout the day?
If you need help getting started, reach out to me. I’d love to help you on your fitness journey!