Whether you’re newly pregnant or rapidly approaching Baby’s birthday, backaches during pregnancy can strike at any time and for a number of reasons. It can be difficult to prevent the onset of backaches, but there are a few strategies you can use to manage the discomfort.
Although it’s important to avoid overheating raising your body temperature too much (particularly in early pregnancy), taking a hot bath or using a heating pad on your back is among the most highly-recommended methods of dealing with backaches during pregnancy. The heat increases blood flow to the area, reducing inflammation and stiffness. Many medications designed to relieve back and muscle pain are not safe to take during pregnancy, so heating pads might just be the most effective safe option around.
Nobody ever said it was easy to keep good posture when you’ve got a big belly bump, but doing so can greatly reduce the discomfort you might notice. When standing, focus on keeping your shoulders back, your chest forward, your weight evenly balanced on your feet, your stomach pulled in and up, and your butt tucked in instead of outward. When sitting, place your feet flat on the floor so your legs are at ninety degrees to the ground, pull your shoulders back, and keep your back straight. While keeping good posture isn’t going to be an instant cure for your backache, it will help over time.
Many pregnant women swear by maternity belts to reduce the discomfort in their backs and abdomens. Maternity belts support your growing belly and baby, which can significantly reduce the amount of stress placed on your back. Maternity belts are most effective once you’re a bit of the way into pregnancy and your weight gain is beginning to increase.
Though it seems like your back bears the full brunt of your weight all the time, there are actually two things that are placed under even more stress than your back: your feet! Your footwear choice can seriously affect how much discomfort you notice in your back, so healthcare professionals recommend avoiding wearing high heels during pregnancy in favor of flats (ballet slippers are often preferred). There are also a number of shoe insoles that are specially designed to help prevent and manage backaches, so if you think your footwear might be aggravating your back, look into gel insoles.
Get people to help out
How easy is this one going to be? Though there will no doubt be times when you have to reach up high for that cereal box or lug your groceries home, asking for help with tasks that might put unneeded stress on your back will help prevent and deal with backaches. As you might have noticed (especially if you’re in a more visible stage of pregnancy), people tend to be quite happy to help pregnant women, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find somebody willing to lend a helping hand or two.
Exercise is proven to help reduce backaches, but sometimes the stress it places on your body can make the back pain worse. Swimming is recognized as one of the best pregnancy exercises for a variety of reasons, including that it’s low impact on your joints. Swimming allows you to build both muscular and cardiovascular strength without the constant and agitating pitter-patter of your feet on a hard surface. It’s important to not start an exercise regimen that you were unfamiliar with before pregnancy, but women with little experience in the pool may want to look into a pregnancy water aerobics class taught by a trained professional. It’ll feel like you (and your baby) are walking on the Moon!
Much like swimming, yoga is a low-impact exercise that can help you reduce your backaches while building strength and stamina for the rest of pregnancy and delivery. Whether as a part of a class or by yourself with a home yoga video, yoga is among the least stressful exercises on your body and also helps you stretch out all of the muscles and ligaments that might be causing you discomfort. It’s also great for de-stressing. You should talk to your healthcare provider if you have any questions about yoga, swimming, or any other type of exercise during pregnancy.
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