For all the beautiful, exciting things that come along with being pregnant, there are also the cravings, the insomnia, and, perhaps worst of all, the back pain. Moms know — that struggle is real. Aside from the simple fact that you’re carrying extra weight around, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says back pain during pregnancy is also brought on by your expanding uterus. As your body changes with your growing baby, so does your center of gravity. Plus, a growing belly causes your abdominal muscles to stretch out and become weaker. The result is a shift in your posture and a strain on your back.
Hormones are at play here, too — as your body prepares itself to give birth, it releases a hormone to help relax the ligaments and joints in your pelvis. If those joints become too flexible, though, it can lead to back pain. While an aching back during pregnancy may be unavoidable, there are some things you can do to help ease it. The List spoke to board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon and founder of The Spine Pro, Dr. Hooman Melamed. Here are his tips for managing back pain during pregnancy.
Choose your shoes carefully and try a belly band to help with pregnancy back pain
Developing your own chic pregnancy style is all part of the fun of having a baby on board. Whether you like a glam mom-to-be look á la the Kardashian sisters or prefer a more casual aesthetic like Katy Perry, just make sure your shoes are baby bump-friendly. Dr. Melamed says, “Avoid high-heel shoes. Adding height can cause your ligaments to be looser, which can lead to joint instability and cause muscle pains and aches. In addition, your chances of falling while wearing heels are greater, which can injure you or your baby.” Time to embrace those flats and sneakers, ladies.
Another way to help mitigate back pain during pregnancy is to give your belly a little support. Dr. Melamed suggests, “Consider pregnancy belts (belly bands), which help with balance and can reduce aches and pains as they evenly distribute your baby’s weight over your abdominal area.” Don’t forget to support that belly while you sleep, too. U-shaped and C-shaped maternity pillows can offer support and help you sleep more comfortably, according to Dr. Melamed.
Move and eat mindfully to ease back pain during pregnancy
When you’re toting around an ever-expanding baby bump, even everyday tasks like picking up a laundry basket can be treacherous. Dr. Melamed cautions, “While you may think bending is a simple movement, one wrong move can be the start of many problems.” He advises, “Avoid bending from your back, but bend from hips.” Better yet, “Spread your knees apart and squat down. On your way up from a bent position, make sure you use your hands, knees, and thighs as this will help with balance.”
Diet and exercise remain as important as ever during pregnancy, of course. Dr. Melamed suggests avoiding “pro-inflammatory foods such as processed foods, sugar, grains, and dairy,” and recommends taking frequent walks (as long as you’ve been given the okay by your OBGYN). It never hurts to get some professional assistance, either. Dr. Melamed explains, “During pregnancy, a woman’s body is constantly shifting and trying to adjust to an expanding uterus,” and he says working with a pregnancy Pilates instructor can help ease the aches and pains that come along with those changes. According to Basi Pilates, pregnancy Pilates helps strengthen core muscles to support your back and reinforces good posture.
Follow these tips, and you can spend less time struggling with back pain during pregnancy and more time focusing on your little bundle of joy-to-be.
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