Over 50% of pregnant women suffer from pain in their backs, joints or pelvis
Lead Women’s Health Physio Camilla Lawrence, from Six Physio in London, specialises in treating joint, muscle or nerve pain during pregnancy, as well as post-natal abdominal and pelvic floor retraining.
‘Over 50% of pregnant women suffer from pain in their low back and/or joints of their pelvis,' she explains. And it's not only a source of discomfort while you're expecting, but can also influence your labour options and post-natal recovery.
Here are Camilla’s top 10 tips for helping to keep back and pelvic pain at bay during pregnancy:
1. Think about your posture
‘Try to stand up tall’, Camilla advises. ‘As the weight of your bump increases, don’t be tempted to slouch or lean back, as this will put more strain on your back and neck.’
2. Avoid standing for long periods of time
Standing for a long time, which could be for anything from cooking to attending a wedding, especially if you are wearing high heels, is inadvisable. ‘Sitting down, even for 5-10 minutes every half an hour, will help’, Camilla recommends.
3. Walking can be a great form of exercise during pregnancy
…unless you have pelvic pain. Camilla suggests, ‘If walking is making your pain worse, slow your pace down, take much smaller steps and consider reducing your distances, or driving instead.’
4. Avoid the ‘waddle’
As your pregnancy develops, swaying from side to side as you walk may seem easier. But be warned, ‘This often increases the shear forces through your back and pelvic joints, increasing your risk of back and pelvic pain.’
5. Attend a weekly core-stability exercise class
‘Ante-natal Pilates or yoga are ideal to help keep your back and other joints strong and supple, reducing your risk of pain’, Camilla suggests.
6. Avoid activities that aggravate your pain
This may sound obvious, but often we don’t listen to what our bodies are trying to tell us. ‘Be aware that back and pelvic pain can also flare up a few hours later or the day after you do an aggravating activity’, Camilla warns.
7. Reduce lifting where possible
Your back and abdominal muscles are under enough pressure as it is. ‘If you have to lift something, try to keep your back straight and carry the load as close to your body as you can’, Camilla says.
8. Try sitting on an upright chair or supportive armchair with a cushion behind your back. Camilla explains, ‘Low, soft sofas or chairs may look appealing at the end of the day but will frequently make back and pelvic pain worse, as they provide little support to your joints and are difficult to get out of.’
9. Rest when you can (in lying or supported sitting)
This is particularly important during your 3rd trimester, when your body is under more strain due to the weight and lopcation of your baby.
10. Do not put up with pain
‘Whilst common during pregnancy,’ Camilla explains, ‘it is not normal to be in pain. Seek prompt treatment from a specialist women’s health physiotherapist.’
- pelvic pain