An aching back tends to go along with pregnancy like ice cream on pie…except pregnancy back pain is no treat. Unfortunately, many expecting moms will experience back pain at some point during pregnancy. With so many factors at play—from weight gain to hormones loosening ligaments to your center of gravity shifting—back pain is a natural consequence of carrying a baby. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer for nine long months. With a few simple remedies, you can help ease—or even prevent—pregnancy back pain.

 

How to Ease Pregnancy Back Pain

Use heat not cold.

Heating pads are a safe way to help your back muscles loosen up and allow you to relax. Ice packs are not as effective as heat, as they can make muscles feel even more tense. Massage can also be helpful—especially when done by a professional therapist who is well versed in massaging pregnant bodies.

 

Wear supportive shoes.

Sporting shoes with good arch support and slight heel (not flats) can make a huge difference, especially if you’re on your feet all day. Solid support can prevent your gait from compensating from sore feet or joints, which can all lead to a sore back. It’s all connected!

 

Lift with your legs.

When lifting anything from your child to a bag of groceries…or even a weight in a gym, be sure to lift with your legs by squatting. If you know that an object is too heavy to pick up, then don’t! Let someone else do the heavy lifting for you (literally!). Pulling a muscle while pregnant is no picnic.

 

Sleep on your side.

As you may have already discovered, catching shuteye during pregnancy can take some serious effort. Not only do you have wild pregnancy dreams, but you might also have to wake to pee several times a night. Add back to pain to the mix, and you might wonder if you’ll ever sleep again! Snoozing on your side and keeping your knees bent with a pillow between them reduces the strain you put on your back muscles.

 

Consider acupuncture.

Got back pain? Put a pin in it! The ancient Chinese practice of using pins to harness the power of chi to ease pains and balance energies has been used to successfully address a variety of ailments (including morning sickness!). And studies show that acupuncture can be an effective way to treat pregnancy back pain (particularly low back pain and pelvic pain).

 

Try some yoga.

As long as your doctor is on board, prenatal yoga can help stave off aches and pains, alleviate minor pregnancy symptoms, keep you healthy, and prepare your body for labor and birth. The gentle movements combined with a mindful focus on breathing is perfect for helping to prevent or ease back pain.

When to Call Your Doctor About Pregnancy Back Pain

Back pain is often a completely normal and even anticipated part of pregnancy, but sometimes it can be intense enough to send up some red flags. Any back pain that includes the following should be checked out by a doctor:

  • Intermittent cramping that grows more intense
  • Vaginal bleeding or irregular discharge
  • Intense or severe pain
  • A tingly feeling in the arms or legs
  • Pain or trouble when urinating
  • Pain that lasts for two weeks or longer
  • Fever

 

With a baby on the way, you may already feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders…but hopefully with these tips, you won’t have to deal with a sore back too!