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Pregnancy backache

Backache during pregnancy is usually felt as general discomfort across the lower back, often with pain across the buttocks and down the legs.

Backache
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Backache is usually felt as general discomfort across the lower back, often with pain across the buttocks and down the legs. You can get it when you've been standing for too long with bad posture or after lifting something heavy, especially during the third trimester.

High progesterone levels soften the ligaments of the pelvic bones so they stretch to allow your baby to be born. But the ligaments of the spine also relax, putting extra strain on the joints of the back and hips.

  • Massage may help.
  • Do exercises to strengthen your spine.
  • Make sure your mattress is firm.
  • Lift heavy weights correctly.
  • Try to improve your posture, and don't wear high-heeled shoes.

If the pain runs down the back of your leg towards your foot, check with your doctor in case it's a slipped disc.  You might also get intensely painful low backache when you rotate your spine and pelvis in opposite directions, such as when you turn over sideways in bed.

The baby is resting against your sacroiliac joint, which is some 7.5cm (3in) in from the top of your buttocks. Rotary movements of the spine and pelvis open and close the sacroiliac joint, causing pain.

Osteopathy can be helpful, even in severe cases. Backache usually eases in the fifth month when your baby tips forwards - although you may not be able to wait that long!

Posted 04.05.2011

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