Pregnancy is often a time of great joy – but for many of us, that joy comes a myriad of uncomfortable, or even debilitating, pregnancy symptoms.
Backache‘s just one them. An ache in your back could be a niggling pain, or it could be seriously annoying and really affect how you’re getting around.
Just ask pregnant EastEnders star Jacqueline Jossa, who cried out to fans for a solution, writing: “Anyone else pregnant with such a bad backache? Help me!”
So, what can you do to ease backache during pregnancy? Here are some helpful ways to tackle that ache…
1. Bend from your knees
“During pregnancy your body changes its central point of gravity in order to adjust to your growing weight and shape – so over-stretching and lifting can make back pain worse,” explains Christine Hughes, helpline manager for BackCare.
“When lifting, always bend from your knees and never from your back. Try to keep the natural curve of your back in place.”
2. Avoid picking up heavy things!
Sure, you’ll have to lift something at some point during your pregnancy – but the NHS advises pregnant women to stay away from all kinds of heavy lifting, to avoid putting extra strain on their backs.
3. Be careful when you get up
When getting out of bed, roll on to your side and sit up before putting your feet on the floor. When sitting, choose a chair that you can sit upright in, with a cushion behind you.
To get up, place your feet on the floor and push up with your arms.
4. Turn with your feet, not your spine
If you’re about to spin around, lead with your feet, rather than letting your feet follow once you’ve already turned. That sounds a bit weird and tricky, we know.
Essentially, you just need to give some thought to how your body’s moving.
5. Try gentle exercise like yoga or swimming
Staying fit during pregnancy, where possible, is always a bonus – but gentle exercise like swimming, walking and yoga can do wonders for your back, too.
“If you’re swimming, always go for backstroke or front crawl rather than breaststroke, as the neck position for breaststroke puts added pressure on both your neck and shoulders,” advises Christine.
6. Invest in a pregnancy pillow
If you can’t afford to splash out on a pregnancy pillow, designed to help you rest comfortably, and ease neck and backache – you could always try a regular pillow.
When you’re in bed, try sleeping on your side with a pillow under your tummy. Keeping one or both of your knees bent and placing another cushion between your knees can also help.
7. Banish high heels
Some mum-to-bes love wearing high heels from time to time, and that’s their perogative. However, if you’re experiencing aches and pains, it might be time to switch to something comfier.
“Pregnancy changes the natural curve of your spine, so you’ll already be off-balance without adding heels to the problem,” says Christine.
“You’ll also have more relaxed joints as your body prepares for the birth, so the last thing you want to do is trip and damage them.”
Wearing low-heeled shoes with a good arch support will help prevent back problems, especially if you’re on your feet a lot.
8. Invest in regular massages – or get your partner to try
Back rubs – if you can coax your partnet into them – are a simple way to help alleviate aches.
If do decide to try professional massages – whether as a one-off treat or on a regular basis – do your research, and make sure you’re going to someone who’s qualified to do pregnancy massages.
9. Try a warm bath or water bottle
This one might seem a bit eye-roll, but the soothing heat from the warm temperature might help in providing some temporary relief.
10. Use an ice pack
Similarly, an ice pack can also help give you a bit of relief from the never-ending nag that is an achy back!
11. Improve your posture
Posture is important, but it’s all about adopting the best one you can for your body and your pregnancy. “The Alexander Technique is really popular for improving posture,” says Christine.
“Stand in front of a mirror and hold your head up and your chin slightly in – you’ll see how your back changes shape. Try to adopt this position whenever you’re standing or walking.”
How to look after your back after giving birth
You’ll need to look after your back once you’ve had your baby. Remember:
- Lift from your legs when picking up your newborn. Don’t bend at the waist, and never lift from your back
- Invest in a changing table or use a raised area at nappy time, so you’re not bending over when changing his nappy.
- Mmake sure your pushchair is the right height, so you don’t have to extend your body forward to reach the handles.
Images: Getty Images, Instagram/Jacqueline Jossa