How to Relieve Pregnancy and Postpartum Back Pain
Experiencing back or pelvic pain during pregnancy? And even after giving birth?
Unfortunately, it's pretty common and it's no surprise when you look at all the changes your body is going through in order to prepare for birth.
Let's dive into WHY this occurs and what you can do to help decrease the pain!
As we talked about a few weeks ago, and as you probably already know, there are many hormonal changes during pregnancy. One of these changes includes the release of relaxin, which is a hormone that causes ligaments and joints to become “lax” or loose, especially in the pelvis in order to prepare for delivery.
Lack of stability is one of the causes of back and SI joint pain while pregnant and postpartum. Unfortunately, ligament laxity and poor stability also puts women at an increased risk for injury with everyday activities and during exercise.
Another reason for back and pelvic pain is poor posture and change in center of gravity. As your belly is growing, your center of gravity shifts forward. This usually causes women to stand in what we call an extreme “anterior pelvic tilt.” That’s just a fancy term for standing (or sitting) with your pelvis rotated forward, increasing the curve in the small of your back. So, as your belly is growing, your abdominals are stretching and becoming weaker but your low back muscles are becoming tight.
This muscle imbalance wreaks havoc on our body! Let's review this posture and how we can correct it!
Posture and good body mechanics are always essential but especially during pregnancy and postpartum!
You may be asking, ok, but how do we help prevent back or SI joint pain from occurring in the first place?
- Wear a support band around your belly
- Strengthen core/abdominals, hips and stretch the low back ( if postpartum, once cleared by MD to exercise)
- Promote good posture (pillow while sleeping and breastfeeding)
- Wear supportive gym shoes with good arch support. Avoid high heels.
- Avoid standing for long periods of time if possible- take rest breaks when needed or put one foot on a box or stool to decrease pressure on your low back.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects.
It is also common for women postpartum to experience back and SI joint pain. Hormones take several months to return to normal levels, and if you are breastfeeding, this will also affect your hormone levels. Like we talked about before, give yourself some grace and respect all the major changes your body went through!
It is definitely a challenging journey, but a beautiful one!