I'm Pregnant And My Back Is Killing Me!

Learn what actually can cause those back pains and how to treat the ones you have.

I'm Pregnant And My Back Is Killing Me!

Most pregnant women do report problems of back pain when they are pregnant. The only good news is that the baby does not get hurt with this kind of pain. In most cases, this kind of pain will start in the second phase of the pregnancy.

Causes of Back Pain in Pregnant Women:

Typically, back pain during pregnancy happens when the pelvis meets the spine at the sacroiliac joint. Here are some of the many reasons why this can happen:


Weight gain. When a woman is having a healthy pregnancy, she will typically gain around 25 to 35 pounds. This extra weight will add more pressure to the spine which is expected to carry it. In addition to this weight, there is the weight of the baby and the uterus which will also add more pressure to the blood vessels and pelvis.

Posture changes. The center of gravity tends to shift with pregnancy. This will automatically change your posture which will also alter the way you move. At the long run, this will result in strain or back pain.

Hormone changes. Pregnancy makes the body produce relaxin hormone which allows the joints to become looser and ligaments of the pelvic area to relax in preparation for the birth process. This same hormone can unfortunately cause ligaments that support the spine to loosen making the back to become unstable and painful.


Muscle separation. During pregnancy, the uterus expands making the two parallel sheets of muscles (those which run along from the rib cage to the pubic bone) to separate along the center seam resulting in back pain.

Stress. The emotional stress that is associated with pregnancy might cause muscle tension in the back, and this will be felt as back pain or back spasms.

When do I go to the doctor about joint pain during pregnancy?

You need to see your doctor immediately after you start feeling some form of back pain during your pregnancy. The other time that you are expected to see your doctor is when you have been around someone with fifth disease (parvovirus disease). This condition is associated with some birth defects more especially when you are in the first trimester. However, this condition is rare among adults because of their strong immune system after their initial exposure as kids. Should you be exposed to someone (mainly a small child) suffering from fifth disease, you need to see your doctor in order to get your blood counts and antibody levels checked.


How should I treat joint pain during pregnancy?

For you to treat general joint pain, you are required to use Tylenol. However, it is crucial for you to cut back on exercise and elevate your feet at night.

More good news: your pain will ease gradually before you actually give birth; this is only if you did not have any chronic backaches before you got pregnant.

For the mean time, there are so many things you can do for you to be able to treat low back pain or make it milder and rarer.

Exercise. If you do regular exercise, your muscles would be strengthened and as a result, it will boost your stability. With this, it can lead to the easing of stress on your spine. Some of the safest exercises for pregnant women include swimming, walking and stationary cycling.


Heat and Cold. If you apply cold and heat to your back, you might ease some pain. If this can be agreed on by your health provider, you need to start by putting cold compresses on the your painful area for a period of up to 20 minutes repeated several times a day. After completing a period of three days, you will have to switch to heat. Put a heating pad on the painful part, but be careful not put heat on your abdomen at this stage of pregnancy.

Improve your posture. Your body is strained by slouching. You need to maintain a proper posture when sitting, working or sleeping. For example, you can sleep on your side putting a pillow between the knees. Place a rolled-up towel by your back when sitting at a desk for support.

Counseling. If your back pain is related to stress, you need to talk to a trusted counsel or friend for some piece of therapy.

Acupuncture. This is a form of Chinese medicine where thin needles are inserted into the skin at certain locations. According to studies, acupuncture is an effective procedure in relieving pregnant mother's lower back pain. You can check with your doctor if you're interested in trying it.


Chiropractic. If this practiced can be done correctly, it can help relieve the spine from pain, but you need to consult the doctor before doing this.

To avoid more pain during pregnancy:

  • You are required to pick something up from the ground and use your legs to squat instead of bending over.
  • Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes.
  • Avoid sleeping on your back.
  • You need to wear support hose.

But if your back pain will persist, it is advisable to consult your doctor to see if there could be anything making that pain persists. Before taking any pain killer, it is good that you also consult with your doctor. You can try Acetaminophen (Tylenol) as a pain killer when you are pregnant, but you need to avoid Aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen or ibuprofen. In some other circumstances, your doctor may advise other medicines and muscle relaxants that are good during pregnancy.


When to Seek Treatment from a Doctor?

Feeling back pain cannot be enough reason to call your doctor, but if you feel the following symptoms you need to call your doctor.

  • Severe pain
  • An escalation in severe pain or having an abrupt pain
  • If you develop rhythmic cramping pains

In few cases, you could be having severe back pains related to problems such as pregnancy-related osteoporosis, septic arthritis or vertebral osteoarthritis. Your rhythmic pains may also be a sign of preterm labor. This is why you need to see a doctor if you experience these pains.