Pain or discomfort during pregnancy is common and expected as your body grows and changes to accommodate for baby. Good news—there are many options to help you manage or treat it! If you have back pain, swelling, or pelvic pain, we have some great tips and options to help manage.
Options for Managing Pregnancy Pain
The key to managing pregnancy pain is to identify the cause. In rare cases, pain during pregnancy can signal something serious that requires immediate attention. If you feel that something is not right, call your provider immediately.
Your provider will screen out most serious problems during prenatal care for early treatment. Luckily, most causes of pregnancy pain are benign.
For example, lower back pain is the most common cause of pain during pregnancy, affecting up to 49% of all pregnant parents. It happens as the baby gets heavier and puts pressure on the back, abdominal, and pelvic muscles, causing discomfort, soreness, stiffness, or pain. Such benign causes of pregnancy pain will go away after baby arrives and it finds its new “normal”.
The best way to avoid and manage pain throughout your pregnancy is to stay active. Exercising during pregnancy can relieve lower back pain, constipation, and gas. It also helps you sleep better, strengthens the muscles, and reduces the chances of complications.
Get active for 20–30 minutes daily with low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, aerobics, and dancing. Yoga, stretching, and weight training are also useful if you do them under the guidance of a professional. The most important part is you move your body, in whatever way feels most comfortable for you and brings you stress relief and get that heart rate elevated a little.
Home therapy measures are simple things you can do to ease aches and pains during pregnancy. Here are some useful options.
- Take warm baths (not hot)
- Change sitting and sleeping positions (try the side with a pillow between the legs)
- Use a heated pad or warm pack on sore areas, like the lower back
- If you have inflammation, a cold pack can help to soothe muscle and back pain
You can also try deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness to help relieve stress. Pregnancy tends to squish and squeeze your internal organs, so deep relaxation and deep breathing help to get your rib cage and diaphragm moving properly and release tightness in surrounding muscles.
Eat fiber-rich foods and drink plenty of water to keep the gut healthy. This can keep away problems with constipation and acid reflux, which are common as the growing pregnancy pushes the stomach upwards.
Pregnancy hormones also weaken the sphincter muscle that closes the stomach. If you experience this, try eating small frequent meals and avoid lying down after eating to help things move easier.
Stay hydrated! It’s true your body needs more water during pregnancy. Water also helps to combat things like constipation, which most people struggle with during pregnancy. Wondering if you’re drinking enough? Drinking 8-12 glasses of water a day is what is recommended. If your urine is pale or colorless, you’re consuming enough water. If not, it’s probably time to up the intake.
Maintain Good Posture
Pregnancy, especially in the second and third trimesters, shifts around your body weight and is the main cause of lower back pain. Even small changes in your posture when standing, sitting, and sleeping can produce amazing relief from pain and discomfort.
For starters, lean back a little bit when standing to balance your weight. Wear low-heeled (not flat) shoes with good arch support for help with this. Standing for long periods? Try to spread your legs hip-width apart.
When picking up heavy objects or other children, do it by bending your knees and lifting with the legs instead of the back. Similarly, maintain a good posture and sit on chairs with good back support to avoid slouching.
Sit at the edge of the seat and spread your legs (like you would on an exercise ball) to let your belly hang and the baby sit more comfortably. This can help to take the pressure off your back and open up your body for a little relief overall!
Wear a Maternity Support Belt
If you have pain around your pelvic girdle, the increased weight may be exerting pressure on your pelvic floor. Wear a maternity support belt (compression garment) to ease this pressure, which reduces the work that your muscles and ligaments have to do to support the baby.
However, you shouldn’t wear it all the time else these muscles will get lazy. Experts recommend only wearing it during activities with a lot of walking, bending, or lifting to reduce discomfort.
In addition to belly support garments, compression garments and socks (often covered by insurance) can improve pressure and reduce swelling (varicose veins), swollen vulva and hemorrhoids.
Be sure to check with your insurance provider, as most insurance providers offer coverage for support belts during pregnancy. We work with insurance providers all throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, and TriCare nationwide. Click here for help in identifying what your provider covers.
Physical Therapy and Massage
You can consider physical therapy, prenatal massage, chiropractic care, pelvic floor therapist, or even acupuncture for increased pain relief. These different modalities identify pain points and natural ways of relieving pain and helping to support and prepare your body for the journey ahead.
Seeking therapy during pregnancy can actually help to make your labor and postpartum journey easier. Supporting your body through the major changes of pregnancy is important, as is maintaining that support through postpartum as it continues to change and find its new “normal”.
Medications for Pain During Pregnancy
There are times that all of the above are just not enough to manage the discomforts of your body changing during pregnancy. Over the counter medications like ibuprofen and aspirin are often used to manage pain throughout pregnancy. Be sure to talk to your provider before taking any medications during pregnancy and through breastfeeding.
Summary: Get Help for Pregnancy Pain
Most pregnancy pain is just a part of the journey and only temporary. Listen to your body and try to give it what it needs. Feeling overly tired? That’s normal! Try to schedule in some time for a nap, or just kick up your feet and relax. Feeling sore? There are many home remedies for easing pain. If they’re not kicking it, reach out to a provider for additional support.
As your body grows, it will need support! Reach out and order your belly or back support for pregnancy. Or get ahead of the game and order your postpartum support garments too! It’s never too early to have these on hand. Your body will thank you when the time comes that it needs them!
Need more support? We are here to support all your pregnancy and postpartum needs. Reach out so we can help to nurture you and your little one on your pregnancy and postpartum journeys!