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Back Pain During Pregnancy

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Back pain is very common during pregnancy.   Extra weight, the change in your center of gravity and the hormonal influence on your joints and ligaments can all put an extra strain on your back.   Although experienced by many women, there are steps you can take to lessen or even avoid back pain altogether.  It is best to consult with your healthcare professional before starting massage sessions, especially if you have any complications with the pregnancy.

Follow these easy steps to relieve your symptoms.

Posture
Good posture is an important key in preventing back pain.  As your center of gravity changes with your growing abdomen, your body compensates with a change in posture. Consciously keeping good posture will reduce the pressure on your back.  Keep your shoulders down and pulled towards the back, opening your ribcage.  The buttocks should be tucked in slightly to prevent an excessive curve in the lower spine.  Keep the back of your neck and your head in one line with the rest of the spine.  You can do this by imagining yourself lengthening upward.  You should not strain in anyway to achieve a good posture!  If it doesn’t come easily at first, do your best and be mindful when you are sitting or standing.  If you feel any unusual discomfort, relax more into your usual posture.  Your posture can improve gradually  - listen to your body so that you do not overdo it. 

Lifting with Care
It is not recommended to lift heavy objects or children at anytime throughout your pregnancy.  When lifting objects, lift with your legs and not your back.  You can achieve this by squatting down and keeping your back upright the entire time.  Do not make sudden movements while holding the object in your hands and do not reach overhead to place the object in a high place.  Ask for help when using overhead compartments or high closets.

Flat Shoes
Avoid wearing heals throughout your pregnancy.  Flat shoes allow for a better posture and body alignment.  As your body changes rapidly, your sense of balance decreases.  Wearing high heels may put you at a higher risk for falls.

Sleep on Your Left Side
Sleeping on the left side is the most recommended sleep position during pregnancy to allow for the best blood circulation.  Placing a pillow between the knees may create a more comfortable position.

Massage
Massaging the areas that are painful can be very beneficial.  Massage increases circulation to the affected area and relieves stiffness and tension.  Try to have a massage done before bedtime, as the relaxing affects of the treatment can help you sleep better.

Getting Up on the Side
When coming up from a lying-down position, do not come straight up.  It is best to roll over on your side and push yourself up with your arms.

Mild Exercise
Doctors recommend physical activity to reduce back pain.  Walking is the best way to improve your general fitness during pregnancy.

Housework
When doing housework such as cleaning, make sure that you are aware of your sensitive back.  Just as during lifting, let your legs power your movements instead of your spine.  Avoid lifting heavy bags or buckets of water. 

Pregnancy is a time when you should be extra careful with your health.  Avoid activities that you think can cause even slight physical harm.  Get plenty of rest to ensure that your body is strong to support your baby.  Most importantly, listen to your body to know when to stop and what your limits are.

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