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A pregnant woman is sitting on a bed in pajama pants, a loose T-shirt and an unbuttoned shirt. The woman holds one hand on her stomach and the other on her back.

Until now you have had no problems with your back. You were certain this would not change during pregnancy. I also thought so. Thus, I was surprised in the second trimester when I experienced  pain in my back. I quickly consulted my doctor to learn the cause of pain and dispel all doubts.

The doctor explained that the back pain experienced by pregnant women is often caused by intensive excretion of a hormone, relaxin. That hormone is responsible for preparing bones, ligaments, joints and pelvis for childbirth. The "side effect" of that hormone is loosening of the spinal ligament, thus it is more difficult for the spine to carry the load. The lumbar section of the spine has to carry a lot of weight during pregnancy, as the uterus and the belly grow.

Another cause of the aching back may be an incorrect posture of a future mum, who pushes her belly forward due to its weight, and that increases a natural curve of the spine in the lumbar section. Muscles are tensed and start to ache. You can feel it in your back, but also in your neck and in the pelvis area.

What should be avoided?

1. Excessive eating - do not eat for two, your baby is not as big as you. Consult your diet with your doctor, as too much weight gain is a burden for your spine!

2. Incorrect posture when sitting. Do not spread in a chair. Sit stably so the chair back supports your straight posture. You can put a pillow under your lumbar spine, for your back to adhere evenly to the support.

3. Leave stilettoes and high-heeled shoes in the wardrobe. Now you can shop for new shoes with lower heels. You should also remember that shoes should not be completely flat. The best ones are those with a low, rather wide heels, as they ensure stability and physiological position of feet in shoes.

4. Do not lift heavy things. If you need to carry anything heavier, try to divide the load evenly between both hands. Do not push your belly forward unnaturally. Keep your head and neck straight. Walk stably on whole feet. If you can hand those things to somebody else, do so and take care of your spine.

5. When you lift, e.g., your shopping, do not bend at your waist. This advice applies not only to pregnant women. Remember that rule as general, for the future. When you are lifting anything from a floor, crouch, i.e., bend your knees slightly, with a lifted item directly in front of you. Lift shopping with both hands. Such posture is safe for your spine.

What can you do to reduce the load on your spine?

1. When you rest during the day, remember to put your feet literally up!

2. While taking a shower, have a massage. Water jets give an excellent massage to your back.

3. If you prefer baths, I would recommend warm water, but it should not be too hot. It will relax your muscles.

4.Take care of your back also when you are going to sleep in the evening. You can put small pillows under your lower back and knees. This way you take the load off your back.

5. Exercise, after consulting your doctor about best activities for you!


Some physical activities may help to handle problems with your back and its excessive load. Before you decide about any discipline, consult your doctor. Check if you can actually do a given type of exercise, and with what intensity. Do not try the same activities as your friend only because, e.g., swimming was very good for her. If you are susceptible to intimate infections, going to a swimming pool may cause more harm than good.

Examples of sports that you can ask your doctor about:

Swimming - exercises in water will take the load off your spine and joints. Two styles are particularly recommended to pregnant women: swimming on back and breaststroke, due to their intensity.

Gym: if you exercised previously and like that very much, perhaps you do not have to cease going to a gym. Exercises on elliptical trainer are recommended for the back. A future mum moves in a way similar to skiing.

Yoga - prepares joints and spine for bearing the increased load. Moreover, these exercises are relaxing.

Fitness for pregnant women - a ball is an accessory often used in exercises. It is an excellent device for pregnant women because it takes the load off the lower back and massages the pelvis. Fitness for pregnant women is a type of physical activity of low intensity and difficulty. Future Mums do exercises strengthening muscles of lower and upper parts of the body, relaxation and breathing exercises, as well as those improving the posture.

You must definitely consult your doctor whether there are no medical contraindications to physical exercise during pregnancy.

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