Is It Normal to Have Back Pain in Early Pregnancy?

Reviewed on 5/27/2021

As much as 70% of women experience back pain during pregnancy. While back pain is a common symptom in the second and third trimester, it is normal to experience it in the first trimester as well. Causes of pregnancy back pain include increased levels of the hormone relaxin (which loosens the body in preparation for childbirth), added weight, and others.
As much as 70% of women experience back pain during pregnancy. While back pain is a common symptom in the second and third trimester, it is normal to experience it in the first trimester as well. Causes of pregnancy back pain include increased levels of the hormone relaxin (which loosens the body in preparation for childbirth), added weight, and others.

It is normal to have back pain in early pregnancy and some women experience back pain in the first trimester.

Back pain is common throughout pregnancy though it tends to start early in the second trimester, around week 18, and is most common later in pregnancy as the baby grows.

Up to 70% of women experience back pain during pregnancy.

What Causes Back Pain in Pregnancy?

There are numerous causes of back pain during pregnancy, which include:

  • Increased hormones
    • A hormone called relaxin is released during pregnancy that causes ligaments in the pelvis to loosen to allow for easier passage of the baby during birth
    • This can affect the back support the ligaments normally provide 
  • Added weight
    • The weight of the developing baby can put strain on the back 
  • Shifting center of gravity
    • The center of gravity shits forward which can affect balance and posture
  • Lower back curves
    • The lower back curves to accommodate the growing baby which can result in poor posture and strained back muscles 
  • Stress
    • The changes in the pelvic area can cause increased back pain when the mother is stressed

Risk factors for developing back pain during pregnancy include: 

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What Is the Treatment for Back Pain in Pregnancy?

Home remedies to treat back pain during pregnancy include:

  • Apply ice or heat
  • Take a warm bath or use a pulsating showerhead to massage the back
  • Sleep on your left side
  • Use a support pillow under your knees when sleeping or try a body pillow
  • Sleep on a firm mattress or place a board under your current mattress for more support
  • Don’t slouch when sitting and use chairs with adequate back support and a firm cushion
  • When sitting, elevate your feet slightly with a footrest
  • Don’t sit for too long/take breaks and walk, stand, and stretch 
  • Strengthen your abdominal muscles and core
  • Use a brace or support device such as a crisscross support sling or belly band to help relieve the strain of the excess belly weight on the back
  • Avoid high heels and flats and instead wear low-heeled shoes with good arch support/orthotics (show inserts) may also help
  • When lifting things, do so properly, bending at the knees and lifting with the arms, and avoid lifting anything heavy
  • Avoid reaching overhead – use a step stool to get things out of reach
  • Avoid excess pregnancy weight gain
  • Get a massage
  • Try prenatal yoga

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Reviewed on 5/27/2021
References
https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/symptoms-and-solutions/backache.aspx

https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/back-pain-during-pregnancy-943/