Back Care During Pregnancy
Indiranagar, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
BACK CARE DURING PREGNANCY
Pregnancy can be one of the most wonderful times during a woman’s life. However, pregnancy symptoms can be unwanted, annoying, and painful. Frequent bathroom breaks, expanding waistline, and unusual cravings, along with one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy, back pain, can make this beautiful gift into a stressful time.
Lower back pain is common during pregnancy. It usually goes away within 4 to 12 weeks after delivery. The good news is that by taking part in a regular exercise program and improving your posture, you can help ease your lower back pain.
During pregnancy ligaments become softer and stretch to prepare you for labor. This can put a strain on the joints of your lower back and pelvis which can cause backache. As your baby grows, the hollow in your lower back may increase and this may also cause backache.
Increasing weight and width of the pelvis makes lying down a learned skill during pregnancy. Encourage lying on the side with a pillow between the legs or under the top leg. This will prevent excessive rotation of the sacroiliac joint and reduce back pain.
The chair should always fit the user, more so during pregnancy, as increasing numbers of pregnant women hold demanding, sedentary jobs. The seat should be the length of the thigh. There should be a gap of three finger spaces in the popliteal space to allow unhindered leg circulation.The curves of the back should be well supported. Lumbar support provided by a rolled towel placed in the small of the back is a must during pregnancy for prolonged sitting. The chair height should allow the person’s feet to rest comfortably on the ground.
STANDING AND WALKING
Pregnant women should try and walk ‘tall’ and resist the temptation to proudly thrust forward an already prominent belly! This leads to excessive lumbar lordosis, causing back pain. Walking ‘tall’ means tucking in your chin, squaring your shoulders and tucking your bottom in. Walking is always preferred to standing during pregnancy. Modest walking is good on a daily basis as opposed to prolonged standing which has a negative effect on an already overworked circulatory system.
BENDING AND LIFTING
Pregnant women must be encouraged to bend at the hip and knees rather than the back. During late pregnancy, lifting heavy weights close to the chest may become increasing difficult. So heavy lifting should be avoided or shared during late pregnancy. Repositioning of work place articles may help prevent repetitive bending
EXERCISES FOR YOUR BACK
The gentle exercise below helps to strengthen stomach (abdominal) muscles and this can ease backache in pregnancy:
- Only move your back as far as you can comfortably start in a box position (on all fours) with knees under hips, hands under shoulders, with fingers facing forwards and abdominals lifted to keep your back straight
- Pull in your stomach muscles and raise your back up towards the ceiling, curling your trunk and allowing your head to relax gently forward – don’t let your elbows lock
- Hold for a few seconds then slowly return to the box position
- Take care not to hollow your back – it should always return to a straight, neutral position
- Do this slowly and rhythmically 10 times, making your muscles work hard and moving your back carefully
To avoid backache during pregnancy:
- Avoid heavy lifting,
- Bend your knees and keep your back straight when lifting,
- If you do have to carry something heavy, hold it close to your body,
- Move your feet when turning round to avoid twisting your spine,
- Wear flat shoes as these allow your weight to be evenly distributed,
- Work at a surface high enough to prevent you slouching,
- Try to balance the weight between two bags if you are carrying shopping.
You must continue to be ‘back conscious’ and stick to all the back care principles advised in the antenatal period. Sit with your back straight and well supported.