Back pain during pregnancy: 7 tips for relief

Back pain during pregnancy isn't surprising, but it still deserves attention. Consider seven ways to relieve back pain during pregnancy — from good posture and physical activity to complementary therapies. By Mayo Clinic Staff

Back pain during pregnancy is a common complaint — and it's no wonder. You're gaining weight, your center of gravity changes and your hormones are relaxing the ligaments in your pelvis. Often, however, you can prevent or ease back pain during pregnancy. Consider seven ways to give pregnancy back pain the boot.

No. 1: Practice good posture

As your baby grows, your center of gravity shifts forward. To avoid falling forward, you might compensate by leaning back — which can strain the muscles in your lower back and contribute to back pain during pregnancy. Keep these principles of good posture in mind:

  • Stand up straight and tall.
  • Hold your chest high.
  • Keep your shoulders back and relaxed.
  • Don't lock your knees.

When you stand, use a comfortably wide stance for the best support. If you must stand for long periods of time, rest one foot on a low step stool — and take time for frequent breaks.

Good posture also means sitting with care. Choose a chair that supports your back, or place a small pillow behind your lower back. Consider propping your feet on a low stool.

No. 2: Get the right gear

Wear low-heeled — not flat — shoes with good arch support.

You might also consider wearing a maternity support belt. Although research on the effectiveness of maternity support belts is limited, some women find the additional support helpful.

No. 3: Lift properly

When lifting a small object, squat down and lift with your legs. Don't bend at the waist or lift with your back. It's also important to know your limits. Ask for help if you need it.

No. 4: Sleep on your side

Sleep on your side, not your back. Keep one or both knees bent. Consider using pregnancy or support pillows between your bent knees, under your abdomen and behind your back.

Apr. 10, 2013 See more In-depth