Pregnancy heralds an addition to the family and is a pleasing experience for all women. Although there is much to look forward to, pregnancy brings with it many difficulties through which a woman has to pass during the next nine months after conception. The most common problems are morning sickness and back ache. These go along with pregnancy. Often during the advanced stage of pregnancy a woman can be noticed holding her back and rubbing her belly. This is to relieve her of the back pain which is a normal and regular complaint which continues till delivery.
There are two main reasons for this continuous backache. The first and most important is hormonal changes that take place in her body after conception. A hormone called Relaxin is released by the body to make it ready for the birth of the child. From the word Relaxin one would imagine that the hormone is to relax the body to help out the woman from difficulties likely to be faced at the time of birth and development of the child. In contrast this hormone helps to soften the ligaments and pelvis and causes a pregnant woman to waddle.
The second reason for lower back pain is shifting of the center of gravity of mother’s body. Earlier the woman has been accustomed to moving about with the center of gravity in the middle of the body. As the child grows in size and weight, the stomach grows towards the front, thus disturbing this balance. The body has to readjust, resulting in the strain on the spine. The onus of carrying the additional weight also falls on the spine and back muscles. The ligaments that are relaxed as a result of the Relaxin hormone also add to the problem.
Sitting and standing posture is another cause for back ache. A pregnant woman has a tendency to slouch to hide the growing stomach but for her own good she should stand straight with the uterus lifted and stretching outwards.
In case of the mothers who already have a small child, the problems get exacerbated. Lifting the child adds to the problem of back ache. The way out could be using the strength of legs and not the back to lift the child. When the child has to be bathed, avoid bending forward as far as possible. If possible place the child in a tub on a raised platform as this would result in lesser strain on the back.
How to get relief from backache ?
To get relief from the pain, use a towel dipped in hot water to provide warmth to the back muscles. Pain relief ointment can be used locally. Sleep on the side and keep a pillow between the knees. Eat healthy food to prevent constipation, use a hard mattress and wear flat shoes.
Remember prevention is better than cure. In case of pain generally your doctor will not prescribe pain preventing or reducing medicines as these could harm the foetus. With the permission and under the guidance of your doctor, some exercises to strengthen the back and thigh muscles can be done daily. This will help at the time of delivery also.