Back pain is a common pregnancy symptom, and it doesn’t always disappear when your baby arrives.
Drop in to any physical therapist’s office or massage studio and you’re bound to see some baby bumps in the waiting room. That’s because ligament-loosening hormones, weight gain and a shifting center of gravity all conspire to cause 2 million pregnant women to cry out from back pain every year, especially between the fifth and seventh months.
“That’s when your uterus, normally housed in the pelvis, suddenly moves into your abdomen, putting a lot of stress on your lower and mid-back,” explains Cambridge, Mass.-based Holly Herman, D.P.T., author of How to Raise Children Without Breaking Your Back: A Body Manual for New Mothers and the Parents of Small Children (Ibis Publications). Your spine sways as a result, hampering your posture and compressing the back vertebrae like a smushed Slinky.
Mercifully, the discomfort tends to diminish within two weeks of delivery, only to flare up as you begin lifting and carrying a 7- to 10-pound baby up to 50 times a day.
Here’s some news to make you sit up (straight!) and take notice: You can start building a better back now. Our pain-busting moves are safe to do while pregnant and may help you avoid medication. Plus, our advice from the pros will keep you comfortable through nine months of pregnancy and into your baby’s first year.
And remember: No slouching!