Authored by Revere Health

6 Tips for Managing Back Pain During Pregnancy

March 13, 2018 | OB/GYN

Finding the Right Doctor - High Risk-Pregnancy

For many new mothers, seeing your “baby bump” for the first time can be one of the most exciting parts of pregnancy. The baby bump is the clearest sign yet that your baby is growing in the womb, and this physical progress is worth enjoying.

However, your baby’s continued growth can lead to back pain, which is common among pregnant women. Here are some possible causes of back pain during pregnancy, plus some tips for for managing and reducing pain.


Causes of Back Pain During Pregnancy

The most common location for back pain in pregnancy is the sacroiliac joint, or the area where the pelvis and the spine connect. Potential causes include:

    • Weight gain: The back is the primary area that supports weight gain during pregnancy, which is usually between 25 and 35 pounds for most women. The baby itself, as well as the uterus, also carries additional weight and can put pressure on blood vessels and nerves near the back.


      • Stress: Pregnancy can come with some emotional stress, which can lead to tension in the back. Some women experience this as back spasms, and others experience more back pain while they’re stressed.
      • Hormones: A pregnant body produces a hormone called relaxin, which allows ligaments in the pelvic region to relax and loosens joints ahead of birth. However, relaxin can also loosen the ligaments that provide spinal support, which can cause pain and instability.
      • Posture: The presence of more weight in the stomach changes your center of gravity, and often causes changes to posture for pregnant women that can lead to back pain.
      • Muscles: Muscles in the rib cage that run to the pubic bone may separate as the uterus expands during pregnancy, which can affect back pain.

Tips to Relieve Back Pain

1 Maintain Proper Posture

Posture can change during pregnancy and become a major contributor to back pain. Slouching or using poor posture can put a strain on the spine, so look for ways to improve yours wherever possible. Some women find success with sleeping on their side with a pillow between the knees. When sitting or resting, find ways to support your back and try to sit up straight with your shoulders facing back. Some other women find a support belt beneficial.

2 Exercise

Part of reducing back pain during pregnancy is easing spinal stress, and exercise can help here. It helps strengthen muscles while increasing flexibility, which becomes extremely important during pregnancy. Consider exercises like walking, swimming or stationary biking—your doctor can tell you if these are right for you or recommend other safe exercises.

3 Try Temperature Therapy

This is another area where you should ask your doctor in advance, but if you get their approval, using hot and cold to help with back pain can be very beneficial. First, place cold compresses on areas that are in pain—do this for up to 20 minutes at a time, several times per day.

After a few days like this, move to heat treatments instead. Use a heating pad or a hot water bottle on the heating area, never on the abdomen during pregnancy.

4 Talk to Your Doctor About Alternative Therapies

There are a couple alternative therapies that may have success lowering back pain during pregnancy, but it’s important to consult your doctor before trying them:

      • Acupuncture: An ancient form of Chinese medicine that utilizes thin needles placed in the skin. Acupuncture can help decrease lower back pain among pregnant women.
      • Chiropractor: Chiropractic spinal care can also help with pain symptoms.

5 Seek Counseling

If stress is contributing to your back pain, speaking to a counselor or even just someone you trust about your issues may be helpful.

6 Other Tips

In addition, here are some other small tips to reduce back pain:

      • Avoid wearing high heels
      • Squat from the legs if you have to bend down, don’t bend over from the waist or back
      • Wear support hose
      • Do not sleep on your back

If the above areas are not effective, speak to your doctor about possible medications for back pain. This is especially necessary if you get regular cramping pains, or if you have trouble urinating or a “pins and needles” sensation in your extremities. These symptoms might be signs of serious complications.

Your doctor can offer further recommendations on managing and treating back pain during pregnancy.


Obstetricians/gynecologists at Revere Health OB/GYN provide a full range of healthcare services to women throughout all stages of their lives including; puberty, child-bearing years, menopause.



“Back Pain in Pregnancy.” WebMD.


The Live Better Team

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.