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All About Pregnancy

How to Relieve Pregnancy Back Pain

Most moms-to-be will have back pain at some point during pregnancy—here's how to soothe it

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Carrying around a baby-to-be is hard work—and most pregnant women experience back pain at some point. (Research suggests that nearly two-thirds of moms-to-be do!) The good news: After getting the green light from your doctor, there are several steps you can take to help ease—and prevent—back pain.  


Do cat-cow

“This is the number one stretch I recommend for pregnant women who feel tightness in their lower back,” says Jennifer Brocker, president of the American Chiropractic Association Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics and a chiropractor in Portland, OR, who specializes in prenatal care. To do this yoga pose (once you have the okay from your doc), get on all fours with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Drop your belly toward the floor as you raise your chin and chest; then round your back, pulling the belly in and tucking your chin toward your chest.

Consider alternative therapy 

While some medications are off-limits during pregnancy, there are many non-medical interventions that can help. Massage, yoga, stretching, or acupuncture may be helpful in alleviating back pain. Be sure to choose a practitioner with experience treating pregnant women.

Stretch

Gentle stretching can help ease low-back pain. A good stretch to try, according to Brocker: Stand in front of a table that is hip-height. Lift one leg onto the table and keep it straight in front of you. Then gently lean forward for a few seconds. Repeat with the other leg.

Sleep with more pillows

Lessen the stress on your back as you snooze on your side by wedging one pillow between your knees and another between your arms, Brocker says. Or get a pregnancy pillow that wraps around your body in a C or U shape, which can support your back all night. 


Exercise

“An ounce of prevention is worth its weight in gold,” says A. Nick Shamie, M.D., the chief of orthopedic spine surgery at the UCLA School of Medicine. With a green light from your doctor, try strengthening exercises like leg lifts, wall squats, and planks, which can strengthen your core so your muscles are more prepared as your center of gravity shifts. Pelvic tilts and swimming can also relieve discomfort.

Grab a cushion

Sitting at a desk all day can put a lot of pressure on your back muscles. To prevent this, Brocker recommends keeping your feet on the floor and wedging a lumbar cushion or small pillow between your lower back and the chair.