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Back Pain During Pregnancy
If pregnancy is becoming a pain in your back, you’re not alone — back pain is one of the most common symptoms among the expecting set.
What is back pain during pregnancy?
Back pain during pregnancy typically takes the form of aches, stiffness and soreness in the upper or lower back and hips that can sometimes extend into the legs and buttocks.
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When does back pain during pregnancy start and end?
Unfortunately, back pain can start fairly early on in your pregnancy. Some women experience it in the first trimester, but for many women, back pain starts up around week 18, early in the second trimester. It can persist or sometimes worsen as the second trimester progresses and especially in the third trimester, up until you give birth. What causes back pain during pregnancy?
Throughout your pregnancy, a hormone called relaxin is released, causing the ligaments of the otherwise stable joints in your pelvis to loosen up in order to allow easier passage of your baby during delivery.
Add to that the weight of your growing uterus, and your balance gets thrown off as your center of gravity shifts forward.
In turn, your lower back curves more than usual to accommodate the load — resulting in strained muscles and, you guessed it, soreness, stiffness and pain.
Is pregnancy back pain the same as sciatica?
It can be. If you’re feeling sharp, shooting pain that starts in your back or buttocks and radiates down your legs, you may be experiencing sciatica.
The good news about back pain during pregnancy is that it’s usually as resolvable as it is common. Plus, there are many ways to relieve it — so if one solution doesn’t work, another probably will.
Why you can suffer from lower back pain when you’re only a few weeks pregnant:
When you’re not pregnant, and in the first trimester or so of pregnancy, the uterus is contained within the bones of the pelvis.
Many women aren’t exactly sure what this means, so we’ve included a photo of the bony pelvis for you to get an idea. Can you see the ‘hollow’ area in the middle of the ring of the pelvic bones? This is where your uterus normally resides when you are not pregnant, or in the first three months or so of pregnancy.
From the moment of implantation, your uterus will begin to expand in size, ever so slightly each day. Because everything sits quite snugly in this bony ring, this growth will cause displacement of the structures that surround the uterus, meaning that they can in turn start to put pressure on other local structures.
The two structures that are closest to the uterus are your bowel and your bladder. Pressure on these is the reason behind all of those extra trips to the toilet that you probably weren’t expecting yet, and is also the reason why some women experience lower back pain from such an early stage in their pregnancy.
But how does this pressure cause lower back pain?
Your body’s response to the increase in size of the uterus, and the resultant pressure on the intestine (bowel) and bladder, is to posteriorly rotate your pelvis.
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