Back pain during pregnancy-third trimester struggle

Back pain during pregnancy, especially once you hit the third trimester, is a common problem among women. And there is nothing really surprising about that- you are inevitably getting heavier and the growing baby bump is pushing your posture down. What’s more, the ligaments in your body naturally become softer and stretch preparing you for labour. This can overburden the joints of your lower back and pelvis, which ultimately causes back pain.

But fear not, there are many ways to alleviate this pain and make your daily life a bit more bearable.

Here are some of my suggestions:

Exercise as much as possible

There are loads of good exercises for your back in pregnancy. The best ones are stretching and strengthening exercises, such as yoga and/or pilates; doing them regularly will definitely eliminate the pain.

Good ones are core exercises which strengthen your back. One of my favorite without the need of any equipment is called Bird Dog- it will stabilize your back and give the relief you are looking for.

How to do it:

  • Go onto all fours (hands and knees)
  • Create slight tension in your abdomen
  • Extend one arm out in front at the same time extending the opposite leg to the back (hold this position for about 8-10 seconds and repeat on the other side)

Another great and pleasurable type of sport/ exercise is swimming. It’s not only safe for you and your baby but also relaxing (since you will feel much lighter in the water than you actually are). It works out every muscle in your body and on top of that it can reduce swelling of your feet and ankles.

Also, makes sure you walk a lot, don’t stand or sit in one position for a long time. Going for a walk in the park is a great option in those last weeks of pregnancy, especially in those days when you don’t feel like doing any work out at all.  If you are still working and it’s a desk job, make sure your feet are elevated from time to time and you go outside for a lunch breaks so that you could stretch those overloaded joints.

Keeping the right posture

The right posture is one of the most important things during your pregnancy. Obviously your belly will keep ‘pushing’ your posture down so it’s not always as easy as it sounds.

However, pay attention to keeping as good posture as possible as it will reduce the pressure on your spine.

  • keep your back straight and knees bent when you reach for something from the floor
  • avoid lifting heavy objects
  • when carrying shopping bags makes sure you’ve got 2 of them to balance the weight out
  • avoid tilting your head- this will keep your head and neck in the upright position
  • when sitting keep your knees straight and don’t cross your legs
  • good support for your back when sitting at work or at home is essential – you can use couple of normal pillows or look for maternity support pillows.
  • you would be surprised how a good fitted bra changes your pregnancy back issues so makes sure you get the right one for yourself. Ask the shop assistant for help if needed.

Supportive shoes

These are so important and invaluable when you have gained few (or more like a dozen) of pounds! I’m sure you’ve already heard about the possibility of your feet growing (or rather swelling) to even a full size up. Although it’s rather difficult to avoid the swelling itself you can make your feet and ankles feel more grateful  if you chose the right footing.

Say goodbye high-heels (I’ve never been a fan of them anyway) and say hello to low-heeled shoes, flats and flip-flops with a good arch support. These will assure your spine is aligned and well-supported.

Shoe inserts can also turn out to be helpful.

Here is my review of top shoes I found to be useful while I was pregnant.

Massage

There is nothing like a good massage for tired muscles. And having it done while you’re pregnant is a heaven for your aching back, stiff shoulders or sore hips. It will also improve your mood and get those endorphins flowing around your body, making you feel like a newborn again.

You can choose a spa that offers massages specifically for future mums which means the therapists taking care of you will have a special training for dealing with pregnant women.

You could also ask your partner to gently massage your back while you sit. Combine it with some relaxation techniques such as meditation or relaxation music and you will feel much better in a blink of an eye.

Back support during day and night

Sleeping on your side, especially left side, with your knees bent and a pillow between them is the best option for pregnant women. There’s no such thing as too many pillows in late pregnancy! Try different variations: you can use pillows under your belly, between your legs, and also behind your back.

You should avoid sleeping on your back in the third trimester; the reason being is that that position puts pressure from your enlarged uterus onto your spine, back muscles and major blood vessels which can decrease blood flow around your body and to your baby.

The best comfort will give you specially designed pregnancy/maternity pillow which supports your back, belly, and legs during rest or sleep, also giving you a proper back support in sitting positions.

Alternative treatments

I haven’t tried any myself however some women swear on this method and there is enough research suggesting that acupuncture might help to get rid of lower back and pelvic pain during pregnancy. Acupuncture uses fine needles to stimulate specific pressure points in the body that correspond with various systems of physical and emotional health. This method supposed to eliminate any blockages that are obstructing smooth flow of the body’s energy, ultimately improving health and ease any pain (including back) symptoms. Make sure you tell your practitioner that you’re pregnant when arranging an appointment.

Another solution is aromatherapy. Having a warm (but not hot) bath with just a few drops of lavender oil (and maybe some candles around you) is something you will genuinely be grateful for. Guaranteed you will feel an improvement after that as combination of warm water and gorgoeus essence will relieve your muscle tension, pain triggered by stress or fatigue, and soothe your pacing mind.

Rest, rest, rest

So, apart from staying active, using the right footing or pampering yourself at a spa, what is equally important for the back pain is rest. In the third trimester you will hopefully stop working and stay at home, preparing for your little one’s arrival.

But we all know that staying at home doesn’t necessarily mean being lazy. You will have hands full with cleaning the house, washing and ironing baby clothes, preparing the nursery room or doing the last minute shopping. On top of that you still eat for two so you spend some time in the kitchen, working on your cooking skills!

Just remember that rest in this time is essential for you and your baby. Sleep at least 8 hours during the night and have an afternoon nap if you feel tired- you deserve it like nobody else. When I was in my last weeks of pregnancy, I slept until 10 am most of the days and then I still slept one or two hours during the day as I felt like I won’t have that opportunity once my baby girl is here. And guess what- I’m glad I did because the sleep deprivation in those early weeks is not a myth (unfortunately). And having that extra rest is also good way of keeping up your energy levels for the labour day!

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