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Dear Midwives #3December 1, 2015

Dear Midwives,

Now that I am about halfway through my pregnancy, my back is beginning to hurt! I have stopped wearing my flip-flops and have changed to better shoes but my back still hurts when I have to stand for a long time.

Would you explain why this is happening? What can I do to make it better?

Sore back in Seco

Dear Sore in Seco,

You are not alone! Most pregnant women will have back pain at some point in their pregnancy. We talk to people about this at many visits. As your pregnancy progresses, ligaments and joints get looser because of pregnancy hormones. This loosening changes the normal curve in your back and can cause pain. Later, the pelvic joints move more from the weight of the baby. Low back pain, and sometimes shooting pain in your upper legs or buttocks, can be the result.

Here are some tips we share with our back pain sufferers:

  • Avoid sitting for long periods of time. Change your position often, and when you can, put your feet up on another chair or a box so your hips tilt forward.

  • Cold packs, moist heat, a back massage or sitting in a warm bath can help.

  • Be careful lifting heavy things. Use the strong muscles in your legs for lifting.

  • Sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs may help too!

  • Ask your provider about ordering an abdominal support; it can help snug up the baby and provide support for your back.

  • There are also exercises that can strengthen the muscles in your back; check with your provider or the midwives.

Sometimes, these things are not enough to relieve the pain. Your provider can refer you for physical therapy or chiropractic care. Of course, things usually get better when the baby is born!

Take good care of yourself,
The Midwives of WHI