Pregnancy App Article: "Backache"

Week 14
Week 36
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Straight up, it's a pain
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Back pain is a particularly grim affliction, simply because there's really very little you can do without involving your back in some way.

When you're pregnant, you're loaded up with baby like an old pack horse and your poor old back is crucial in helping to carry that extra weight. Meanwhile, pregnancy hormones loosen up your ligaments and muscles, which can leave you vulnerable. This is compounded by your posture which can often suffer as you try to accommodate your growing bump.

And it gets worse. In some cases, the strain of extra pressure and inflammation on the sciatic nerve can result in pain that spreads through your buttocks and thighs: this is called sciatica. It is, quite literally, a pain in the bum.

So: what to do about it? First thing's first - get all the help you can. Don't be afraid to ask friends and family to lend a hand, especially if you have older kids to look after. You also need to think about altering your work routine if it involves any heavy lifting, standing or sitting for prolonged periods. 

Relief from back pain: what works?
  • Warmth. A hot water bottle, heated cushion or warm bath can help soothe aching muscles.
  • Gentle exercise. Swimming is great as it takes the weight off, and pregnancy yoga or pilates can help stretch and strengthen muscles.
  • Physiotherapy.  Ask your GP or midwife to refer you to get advice on exercises that can help or activities to avoid.
  • An elasticated support belt or 'belly bra' (just as sexy as it sounds) can offer some relief.
  • Complementary therapies: acupuncture, osteopathy or chiropractic could be worth a try.
Finding a comfortable position
  • Lie down on your side, with a pillow between your knees, to take the pressure off your back.
  • Wear flat, comfy shoes - heels will push your body even further forward than your baby does.
  • If you have to stand for a long time, hold your shoulders back and keep your legs apart (but essentially, try to avoid having to stand at all costs).
  • If you have a toddler to lift, bend your knees and use the muscles in your legs to lift them up.
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I had dreadful backache during my pregnancy, and for six weeks after the birth. I went to see a physiotherapist and the relief was immense.
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I had an inflamed sacrum, which is just as scary and horrid as it sounds, and was spending a part of every day in tears because everything I did made it hurt.
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Things like climbing in and out of bed a certain way reduced the strain on my muscles and ligaments.
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