Lower Back Pain During Early Pregnancy
How To Relieve Back Pain During Pregnancy While Sleeping
Do not be worried so much about the persistent discomfort and back pain during pregnancy while sleeping. It is interesting to note that about 60-80% of pregnant women experience back pain at different times of pregnancy. That is good news suggesting that you are not alone. Though different women may mostly experience the pain at any time of the pregnancy. This mostly occurs at the later stage of the pregnancy, as the baby grows.
You may further notice that your usual laying positions while sleeping are no longer convenient for you during pregnancy. However, several factors contribute to back pain during pregnancy but then there are different sleeping positions that you may try which can help you find much relief for back pain during pregnancy while sleeping.
When Does Back Pain Start In Pregnancy
Back pain is commonly associated with pregnancy. Studies have it that about 80% of pregnant women experience a certain form of back pain. This pain ranges from minor pain to severe backache resulting from some daily activities.
Pregnancy lower back pain according to research may begin as early as from 8 weeks to 12 weeks in pregnancy though, most pregnancy lower back pain usually surfaces later, between 5 to 8 months as a result of much pressure from the growing baby getting ready to be born.
It is noted that women who are experiencing back pain before pregnancy have high chances of developing back pain in their early pregnancy as against those who had no pre-existing back pain.
Major types of pregnancy back pain
Lumbar or, lower back pain and Posterior pelvic are the two major types of pregnancy back pain.
Lumbar Back Pain:
Lower back pain which is lumbar Pain during pregnancy is usually located above the waist in the center of the back. This lower back pain may be similar or different with the pain that radiates into your leg or foot know as sciatica.
However, lumbar pain during pregnancy is concurrent to lower back pain experienced by women who are not pregnant. Causes of lumbar back pain are associated with prolonged postures which include: standing, sitting and persistence lifting of heavy objects.
Posterior Pelvic Pain:
Pain in the back of the pelvis is mostly common than lumbar back pain in pregnancy. It comes with a sharp pain below the waistline and to either side at the waistlines across the tailbone.
Posterior pelvic pain can extend down into the buttock and upper portion of the posterior thighs. It can be related to pubic pain. The pain may present morning stiffness as it does not quickly resolve with rest.
Posterior pelvic pain during pregnancy can occur as a result of the following activities:
- Running and walking
- Lifting heavy objects
- Climbing stairs
- Sitting and getting up from a seated position (such as getting in and out of cars, bed, bathtubs,)
- Twisting, bending forward
- Running and walking
- Rolling in bed
Pregnancy posterior pelvic pain may be increased if a pregnant woman does a job that involves prolonged postures such as sitting at a computer and leaning forward, standing and leaning over a desk.
Labor pregnancy pain
Labor pain is an entirely different kind of pain from pregnancy back pain. It is likened to a severe menstrual cramp and it comes with the following:
- Persistent pain
- It is not prompted by your level of activity (while pregnancy back pain is often activity-induced).
- It increases in intensity and frequency over a short period of time
Pregnancy Support Pillow
What can I do to relieve back pain during pregnancy?
- Adopting proper posture: You can alleviate pregnancy back pain by simply adopting proper body alignment when standing and sitting. Ensure you keep the head and chest high. According to Roger Harms, M.D., an obstetrician-gynecologist and author of Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy “Keeping the chest and head high, hold ears over shoulders, tuck buttocks under, and keep the pelvis flatter, rather than arching your back, to support your additional weight,” will go a long way helping you alleviate backache. Also, pregnant women are discouraged from standing for a long period of time. “Women should wear shoes that provide shock absorption, stability, and support,” as recommended by Alicia Silva, a physical therapist and author of Preventing and Managing back pain in pregnancy.
- Stay Active: Mild exercise can help you stay strong during your pregnancy journey. Dr. Harms recommends low-impact cardiovascular exercises like swimming and walking. Swimming during pregnancy” gives the muscles that are supporting your extra weight a break and helps with conditions such as varicose veins and ankle swelling,”.
- Learn to lift properly: If ever there are times people are willing to help, is this time, therefore, avoid lifting heavy objects and seek for help with picking heavy contents or objects. Always bend at the knees, keep your back straight, lift with your legs, while keeping the object close to your body, and avoid a lift and a twist motion.
- Learn to sleep on your left side: Practice sleeping on your sides especially on your left side so that the uterus does not put much pressure on the vena cava. Placing a pillow under your tummy and between your knees for support will help maintain a properly aligned spine.
When should I worry about back pain in pregnancy?
Back pain is most common with pregnancy life. Doctors say at least 60% of pregnant women will experience back pain sometimes in their pregnancy journey. Back pain can be so distressful but not totally a danger to worry about as it does not pose any harm to either the baby or the mother though, there are certain cases that may require the immediate attention of your doctor.
- You should consult your doctor when you experience irregular severe and sudden pain without a clear cause. Also see your doctor when you are involved in any physical trauma, such as car accident, domestic abuse or fall of any kind-this will help to quickly to figure out any impending serious injury to yourself or the baby.
- When there is cramping, uterine tightening, and vaginal bleeding.
Mary Rosser, M.D., Ph.D., an ob-gyn at the Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York, advises that women should always be on the lookout for the pain that is ‘new’ and cyclical. Preterm labor is one of the most worrisome causes of back pain. This according to Dr. Rosser could come with a sign of uterine contractions, any changes in vaginal discharge or along with vaginal bleeding that could be an indication of an early rupture of your waters or placental issues.
- If you experience numbness:
When you feel any tingling, numbness or a sharp, shooting pain in your legs, or feet, buttock seek help from your doctor to ensure there are no serious problems.
Is it bad to sleep on your right side when pregnant?
It is not always unusual to find yourself wrestling over comfortable sleeping positions during pregnancy this is because your regular sleeping position may no longer be appealing to you. Nonetheless, there are other suggested comfortable sleeping positions which may provide you with adequate night rest.
Sleeping on sides (SOS), is the suggested sleeping positions. Sleeping on your left side is better as it is recommended by the doctors for perfect blood flow to your baby. Left-hand sleepers sleepers experience lower risk of acid reflux and heartburn. Sleeping on your right for a short time is not bad but having to lay on your right position all night long could endanger the life of your unborn baby. According to doctors pregnant women who Women who sleep their back or right sides during the late stages of pregnancy are prone to having still birth.
How many hours of sleep does a pregnant woman need?
Being pregnant can in no doubt trigger a lot of changes in a woman’s body both physical and emotional discomfort leading to stress and sleep problems. However, the gestational period is a time for women to consider more time for sleep because they are sleeping for two and should allow more time for sleep.
In relation to the familiar advice that ”pregnant women should be eating for two’, Kate Lee, a professor of nursing, who studied how sleep affects pregnancy advised that health professionals should always emphasize on the need for “sleeping for two” during prenatal visits. This according to Lee is because pregnancy can affect the quality and quantity of sleep a woman gets. she recommended at least 8 hours in bed each night and 7 hours of sleep for pregnant mothers.
Lee’s further studies reviewed that first-time mothers who slept for less than 6 hours at night were 4.5 times more likely to deliver through C-section, with likely 10 or more hours average length of labor compared with first-time mothers who had 7 or more hours of sleep in a night. However pregnancy-related fatigue can be as a result of progesterone hormone which slows pregnant women down, other physiological and emotional factors not excluded.
Can I use a heating pad on my back while pregnant?
Many women have so much concern about using a hot tub on the joints or belly while pregnant. Some women feared that heating pad could raise their body temperature and thus, harm either them or their growing babies. However many healthcare specialists recommend the use of heating pad but with low heat to relieve the pain in the muscles, joints, back or pelvic pain hence there is no evidence to suggest that using heating tub or pads on the back or belly for a short period is harmful. Though, you are safer getting your doctor’s advice before using heating pads on your back or belly.
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How safe it is to use heating pads while pregnant?
Heating pads should be safe to use as long as they do not increase the woman’s body temperature. Pregnant women should avoid using heating pads all through the night when they may not be aware of temperature shifts. Women should consider using heating pads for about less than 10 minutes.
A study carried out in 2013 linked to the use of hot tub did not state any negative outcomes associated with the use of heating pads rather the study suggested that using several treatments at once, such as heating pads, chiropractic care, and aerobic exercise was effective for pain relief.
Meanwhile to minimize any risks it is advisable to:
- To use the heating pads for about 10 minutes or less.
- The first trimester may be the riskiest time to raise the body temperature, therefore, limit the use of hot tub during this phase.
- Stop using a heating pad if it causes you to sweat, overheated or feel too hot.
- Do not use a heating pad when you are leaking or bleeding unless your doctor advises you do so.
Is too much sleep bad during pregnancy?
According to the National Institute of Health, pregnant women should have a few more hours of sleep every night or nighttime sleep should be supplemented with between naps during the day. Sleep is considered a necessity not a luxury for every pregnant woman.
Generally sleep is essential to health as a lack of adequate sleep has been associated with most serious health issues. For a pregnant woman, poor sleeping habit or an inadequate amount of sleep may expose you to some serious health challenges.
A study reviewed that the amount of sleep you get in your first trimester may pose a challenge to your health during the third trimester. Pregnant women who have less than 5 hours of sleep per night in the first trimester are 10 times more likely to develop preeclampsia in their third trimester. Another study reports that pregnant women who slept less than 6 hours at night during the third-trimester experienced longer labors and were more likely to deliver via C-sections.
In other words, the study further reported that too much sleep of about more than 10 hours a night during the first trimester can increase the risk of developing preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is associated with pregnancy-related high blood pressure. Sometimes it comes with symptoms such as swelling of feet and hands, and protein in the urine. It may sometimes lead to serious or even fatal complications for the mother and for the child.
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How To Relieve Back Pain During Pregnancy While Sleeping
- (SOS): Sleeping on the side is considered the best position to sleep. This position is considered best as it puts much less pressure on the uterus and enables smooth breathing.
In addition to giving you comfort, sleeping on the left side equally improves blood circulation. Moreover, and plays a great role in saving your growing body weight to push down hard on the liver.
- Avoid sleeping on your back: laying on your back is practically not good for either you or your baby, and it is also very uncomfortable
- Keep one or both knees bent: To reduce the excessive spinal extension and relieve pain, you need to pull your knees up to your chest while sleeping
- Support your kneels with pillow: Always use a pillow between your knees to reduce the pain on your pelvis and on your lower back
- Support your waist with a towel: To prevent any discomfort and have proper support, fold a thick towel lengthwise and place it perpendicular and place it under your waist. The towel length gives you adequate support without requiring adjustment, even if you roll over while still asleep.
- Sleep when you feel sleepy: Do not just toss and tum in bed, rather get up and get involved in something boring that could make you feel sleepy. However, simply lying on the bed weak and unsteady also will aggravate the back pain.
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach: As the baby starts to grow especially during the second trimester of pregnancy, you might feel knee pain, back pain, leg cramps, and others. Adopting the proper positions of sleeping can provide you ultimate comfort. Sleeping on the stomach at that time might not only aggravate the pain but may also lead to chest pain, shortness of breath and discomfort.
Did you experience back pain during pregnancy?
How did you handle it?
Which was the most sleeping position that provided you the much-needed relief?
Help others by sharing your experiences in the comments section below, please.