Back and pelvic pain are very common complaints in expectant mothers due to the remarkable changes the female body must undergo during these nine months. This can happen at any stage of pregnancy depending on many variables including having a history of back problems, size of the foetus, hormonal changes, weight gain and softening of ligaments.
During the first trimester the uterus will begin to grow, the spine and pelvis are already changing alignment to accommodate for this. It is not usually until the second trimester we see significant abdominal growth as baby is increasing in size. This stage can cause pain around the mid back as it will tend to curve forwards around the growing bump, and likewise the neck can overextend and get painful as it overcompensates.
During the third trimester 75% of mothers develop a deepened curve in the small of their back, and the pelvis rotates forwards to create even more space for baby to grow. Placing the body under this additional strain can cause a large number of issues with the lower back and pelvis as it changes. This can include joint inflammation and irritation, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), sciatica and much more.
These big changes that occur during pregnancy can really take its toll on the body, especially if there were already musculoskeletal problems evident prior to conception. An athlete would never take part in a marathon without preparation, so why not prepare for pregnancy alike! It is a marathon not a sprint after all. Things which can help before and throughout pregnancy include regular stretching and specialist prenatal classes such as yoga and pilates. Contrary to what many people believe, back pain during pregnancy isn’t something you have to put up with and can be helped. Osteopathy can help to relieve the stresses and strains on your body during pregnancy and after birth by making sure all postural adaptions and changes take place smoothly. Don’t suffer during your pregnancy, book an appointment with a professional for help.
Written by Hannah-Rose Charters, Associate Osteopath
Alicia M. Silva, MPSPT. Preventing and Managing Back Pain during Pregnancy
Dr Steven Sandler, DO PhD. Osteopathy and Obstetrics