Experiencing back pain while being pregnant is most simply explained by the multitude of hormonal changes and the growing uterus. A pregnant woman’s center of gravity is shifted by the expanding uterus which weakens the abdominal muscles. This alters the normal posture and adds stress to the back. The shift in posture can also cause pressure on a specific nerve which will also cause pain. The additional weight increases stress on joints and muscle strain.
Sleeping During Pregnancy
We all expect to lose sleep once a baby arrives in our lives, but many expectant mothers are surprised to realize how difficult catching enough sleep during pregnancy can be. During your first three months of the pregnancy, you will notice a marked increase in the sleep your body demands. This is a normal response of the body making sure it has all it needs to nurture and protect its new resident. Your newly pregnant body is working over-time to form the placenta which nourishes your baby until it’s born and pumping much more blood for your baby to live on, as well. Generally, as the pregnancy progresses, expectant mothers start having difficulty sleeping.
During the early stages of pregnancy, it is recommended that you begin to become accustomed to sleeping on one of your sides as opposed to the back or stomach. Sleeping with knees bent and on the side is probably the best position for comfort as you pregnancy goes on. This sleep position also reduces strain on the heart by shifting your baby’s weight off of the inferior vena cava (large primary vein) which is working to move the blood between the lower extremities and the heart.
The many changes your body is undergoing during pregnancy can cause sleep to be elusive at times. It is important to remember that although tempting, all over-the-counter and even herbal or natural remedies are strongly advised against during pregnancy. Here are some tips to safely encouraging sleep:
- Eliminate drinks that contain caffeine late in the day or in the evening. Restrict their consumption to the early part of the day.
Pregnancy pillows can be excellent tools used to enhance comfort and ease of sleeping while pregnant. They are usually body length pillows simply constructed and the ends are often curved. They are useful in a variety of positions to increase body support while sleeping and offer relief for the common ailments of back pain and leg cramps.
Experiment with the pregnancy pillow while in your usual sleeping position in bed to ascertain the best way to increase support where you need it. If you have difficulty finding a position that is comfortable for you, try a position other women have found beneficial.
It is common for pregnant women to experience back pain. The drastic weight gain, awkward walking as well as the many hormonal and chemical changes in the body would give anyone a back ache. Fortunately, there are some strategies you can implement to treat or even prevent your back pain while you are pregnant. Here are a couple of ideas for reducing back pain:
- Good Posture – While the baby grows inside of you, your body’s pulled forward. To compensate, you arch the back which places strain on the lower back muscles. This causes back pain. Be conscious of your posture. Tuck the buttocks under more and pull shoulders down and back. Stand tall.