Backache and pelvic joint pain
During pregnancy, ligaments become softer and stretch to prepare you for labour. This can put a strain on the joints of your lower back and pelvis, which can cause backache. As the baby grows, the hollow in your lower back may increase and this may also cause backache.
To avoid backache:
- Avoid heavy lifting.
- Bend your knees and keep your back straight when lifting or picking up something from the floor.
- If you do have to carry something heavy, hold it close to your body.
- Move your feet when turning round to avoid twisting your spine.
- Wear flat shoes as these allow your weight to be evenly distributed.
- Work at a surface high enough to prevent you stooping.
- If you are carrying shopping baskets, try to balance the weight between two.
- Sit with your back straight and well supported.
A firm mattress can help to prevent and relieve backache. If it's is too soft, a piece of hardboard underneath the mattress will make it firmer.
Massage can also help, or you might like to try a support corset, which can be prescribed by your doctor. Make sure you get enough rest, particularly later in pregnancy.
If your backache is very painful, ask your doctor to refer you to a physiotherapist. He will be able to give you some advice and suggest some helpful exercises.
Pain in pelvic joints
If during or after your pregnancy you have pain in your pelvic joints when walking, climbing stairs, turning in bed etc, you should ask a member of the maternity team for a referral to a manual physiotherapist, osteopath or chiropractor experienced in treating pelvic joint problems.
You may have a slight misalignment of your pelvic joints (at either the back or front) that is known as pelvic girdle pain (PGP) or symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD). This affects a large number of pregnant women (up to one in four) and is usually treatable by gentle mobilisation techniques that are safe in pregnancy.
Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment will help minimise the pain and avoid long-term discomfort. If you are diagnosed with PGP/SPD, you can contact The Pelvic Partnership for support and information (see External Links).
Last reviewed: 06/04/2009
Next review due: 06/04/2011"