Pregnancy and Low Back Pain

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By Dr. Sender Deutsch
Published on August 22, 2012

Back pain pregnancyAnatomical and physiological changes during pregnancy change the biomechanical and musculoskeletal system which can cause low back pain. The most obvious is weight gain. Increased weight in pregnancy can significantly increase compressive forces to lumbar spinal joints, hips and knees. Each pound can cause approximately 5 pounds more pressure to these joints.

Because most of the weight gained is located in the lower abdomen, pregnant women typically develop an accentuated lumbar lordosis (curvature in the lower back), which contributes to the very high prevalence of low back pain. Balance may be affected by changes in posture, predisposing pregnant women to loss of balance and increased risk of falling.

Another important musculoskeletal change during pregnancy (particularly the third trimester) is an increase in ligament laxity, leading to increased risk of joint instability. This increased laxity is caused by elevated hormonal levels, specifically estrogen and relaxin. The effects of these hormones is particularly prevalent in the pelvic region – the area of the body which must adapt the most to successfully deliver a baby – contributing to incidence of low back and pelvic pain. Overall, this change in joint laxity can
predispose pregnant women to increased incidence of strains and sprains.

Many pregnant women find that a body pillow and/or a leg spacer provides back (and belly) support and help expecting moms sleep.

Click here for more advice on preventing back pain during pregnancy.


2 thoughts on “Pregnancy and Low Back Pain

  1. im now towards the end of my 6th month and only recently started suffering from pain towards the end of my 5th, I find it very hard to get a comfortable nights sleep and as mentioned above i find that the leg spacer works quite well, however i move around a lot when trying to get to sleep and need good support from all angles, ive recently invested in a memory foam mattress and this has also helped a lot in allowing me to get a good nights sleep. not heard of a body pillow but im willing to give it a go!

  2. Pingback: What Are The Risk Factors For Back Pain? Must Know!!!

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