Welcome to this post, “dad”! I believe a congratulation on this new journey is in order!
Hats off to you for being caring and empathetic enough to clicking this link, investing and researching what you can do to help in a situation like this! Let’s go through the different ways you can help your baby’s mom deal with back pain while pregnant!
Quick side note: if this article could be summed up in only two words, those words would be: Tylenol P.M.; it is in many’s opinion that Tylenol P.M. is God’s gift to pregnant women!*NOTE: Please consult your ObGyn before starting ANY course of medication or exercises while pregnant.
No less than 50% of all pregnant women will experience lower-back pain during the gestation period and with so many changes in the body, it’s no wonder that back pain is such a common side-effect.
Let’s be 100% realistic, if there is a tiny human being growing in a small area, the body will need to make LOTS of accommodations.
For instance, all those displaced organs have to move somewhere, the spine has to support the extra weight that the pregnancy comes with – which means the posture will change – and that’s not to mention hormone changes and stress! So, what can be done to ease your woman’s discomfort?
First, let’s examine the causes of these discomforts, then discuss how they are all connected, and last, how they may be made more manageable.
What Causes the Back Pain?
Pregnancy is very anatomically and muscularly demanding for the mother, and as we age, so do their bodies. Unless a healthy level of activity is maintained, muscle strength will decrease, leaving the body less physically prepared for the strains of pregnancy and labor.
Do note this: Weight gain is a normal part of pregnancy; as the baby grows its weight is added to the mother’s and in the presence of any preexisting conditions, such as diabetes, more weight gain may occur.
The increased weight along with the outward growth of the stomach, the mother’s center of gravity shifts and her posture changes. This changes how a woman stands and even how she walks.
Shortening of the lumbar curve causes pain as the curvature of the lower-back becomes more pronounced, this is due to stretching of the abdominal and pelvic muscles.
Occasionally the abdominal muscles, specifically the rectus abdominis muscles (the muscles commonly called a “six-pack”), may sometimes separate as the uterus expands. When this type of separation occurs, back pain can increase because of the lack of support provided that was provided by the abdominal muscles before.
Physical pain can be stressful enough but throughout the entire pregnancy, there is a large amount of emotional stress associated too. The stress can also be a cause for back pain since the muscles tense up during any kind of dealings with stress.
How Can you Help with the Back-Pain Prevention?
1. Make Sure your Woman Maintain a Healthy Activity Level
There are a good number of things that can make the pain more manageable while helping the mother remain active and healthy. Activities such as walking, swimming or stationary biking are all low-impact enough to do without overexerting.
Swimming has the added bonus of the “weightless” sensation and can feel great on the back almost immediately. It will also keep the body cool since it will run warmer while pregnant.
2. Help Her with Good Body Mechanics/Posture
Bending at the hips puts added strain on the lower back as the weight shifts forward so always remind her to squat instead. This will help decrease the amount of support the back must provide if she were to lean forward.
While seated always remind her to do so in an upright position. Practicing good posture will keep the spine supported and long while keeping back pain to a minimum.
3. Tell her that Comfort/Support triumphs Fashion (And that she looks beautiful in it)
It may never be more apparent than when you are pregnant just how much time is spent on the feet.
It is important not only for comfort but for her back as well that shoes are appropriate. Keep heels low and switch out ballet-flats and opt for something with a better arch support. Thick soles are also to recommend.
Thicker soles allow the body weight to be more evenly distributed through the feet. As swelling occurs reasonable footwear will become even more important.
It is still possible to make “reasonable” footwear aesthetically pleasing so buy her a pair of orthopedic shoes so that she will want to wear them without being too superficial.
4. Prenatal Yoga
Yoga does not only help physically but is meant to help emotionally as well. With an emphasis on breathing, pelvic floor exercises, and abdominal exercises this can be a great, gentle way to stretch and strengthen the core – where the body needs the most support during a pregnancy.
5. Buy Her a Massage!
Prenatal massage, just like any message, is a great way to relax while the sore muscles are being worked on. As the tension is massaged away, more oxygenated blood flows to the muscles allowing the tension to ease.
Another amazing benefit from this tip is that it is a fantastic opportunity to lie on the stomach, which for some is a welcome position after being limited to the sides. It’s important for her to communicate any discomfort to the therapist so adjustments can be made.
Fun tip: A cheap and easy way for her to lie on the stomach at home is to buy an inflatable swimming pool donut, perfect for the baby bump!
7. Rest and Elevate Feet
This is probably the most important tip! Make her take breaks and make her accept help. Remind her that it is OK to let people do things for her, and tell her if she is being too stubborn.
Elevating the feet will take the burden off the lower back with the added potential to lower the amount of swelling in the feet.
For all the discomfort back pain causes, it’s usual to experience it later in their pregnancy.
To the significant others that have stuck through this article! Make sure she is actually taking breaks, really! 3 quick tips:
- Tell her that she needs to sit down,
- Tell her to Listen to her body if it tells her that she is overdoing something,
- Help her with her cravings – eating what she craves is better than not eating at all when she’s nauseated. A happy, relaxed mother-to-be helps the baby as much as the mother!
Let her know that you are completely willing to do even the little things, like getting the food she craves. Tell her she’s beautiful and strong when you know she feels drained and exhausted. It’s a beautiful thing, pregnancy, but it’s easier to manage if there is a support system in place. If she has pain in the lower-back specifically, reading this article about lower back exercises can also help.
I am a 26-year-old student that has a bachelors degree in Kinesiology, a Certified Strength, and Conditioning Specialist and currently studying the Ph.D. Physical Therapy program.
My main focuses have been on back-related issues and I love to share my strong passion for how the human body works!