Week 22 - Back Pain

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Hello. This is Dr. Mauldin. Congratulations! It’s your 22nd week of pregnancy!

This week, let’s talk about back pain. Back pain is really one of the most common discomforts during pregnancy.

Your back could hurt for several reasons:

First, if your abdominal muscles are weak, they are unable to help support the spine as well as they should. Second, the hormones of pregnancy cause muscles to relax and become loose. That can cause your back to hurt as well.

One of the most common reasons your back will hurt is that because as your baby grows, your uterus will grow to more than 1000 times its original size. That really is quite amazing, isn’t it?!

Because that growth is all centered in one area, it can put strain on your back muscles. By mid-pregnancy, your center of gravity shifts. To compensate, patients will unknowingly change their posture and the ways that they move.  I know we are all familiar with pregnant women that we see who are leaning backwards as their growing abdomen is protruding forward.  Although it feels better temporarily, the back muscles really end up working harder this way.

So what can you do to try to prevent back pain or to ease the pain that you already have?
1. First, Wear a low-heeled shoe with a good arch support
2. Second, avoid heavy lifting and also try to avoid standing for long periods of time.
3. Third, if you need to pick something up – instead of bending over at the waist, bend at your knees and keep your back straight.
4. If your bed is too soft – ask someone to place a board between the mattress and the box spring. I think you’ll also find that sleeping on your sides with a pillow between your legs will help as well.
5. There are also some exercises your can do that will stretch and strengthen your muscles and promote good posture. Talk to your health care provider about which ones are best used during pregnancy
6. Oh – one last idea that might be helpful: Try wearing a maternity girdle – which is similar to a back brace. It supports the weight of your abdomen and eases the tension on your back.

I hope this information is helpful. Don’t forget to get some exercise several times this week – because that will help your back pain as well.

Good luck – and I’ll talk to you next week.

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