Early Pregnancy Back Pain
and How to Deal With It

Early pregnancy back pain is a common problem, and in most cases it is not very severe. Just like breast tenderness, morning sickness, and muscle aches it is one of the symptoms of being pregnant. It is another sign that your body is beginning to go through some changes.






"make it easier to endure"

Understanding your back pain, and knowing that it is only temporary, can make it easier to endure. The two most common causes of early pregnancy back pain are hormonal changes softening your ligaments and pressure on your back from supporting your uterus.

Later in your pregnancy, as your baby grows, other changes can contribute to your back pain. The good news is that after your baby is born, and your body returns to normal your early pregnancy back pain should resolve.

"hormonal changes, and the extra weight in your uterus"

It is estimated that over 50% of women will experience some degree of back pain during their pregnancy. When it occurs early in pregnancy, it is often the result of, hormonal changes, and the extra weight in your uterus.

The hormone progesterone is very important throughout your pregnancy. It is produced by the ovaries through the first trimester. By the second trimester the placenta begins production and levels continue to rise.

"This hormone effects nearly every part of your body"

Progesterone levels in the blood will double or triple during the first several weeks of pregnancy, and by the third trimester, may reach as much as 10-15 times normal.

This hormone effects nearly every part of your body, including your uterus, cervix, vagina, endometrium, and breasts. It can also cause the nausea, headaches, and breast tenderness that are symptoms of being pregnant.

"progesterone also affects the ligaments in your back"

Progesterone will also cause your ligaments to become soft and begin to stretch, which allows your body to go through the coming changes you are about to experience. Check out Back Pain in Pregnancy to learn more about what to expect as your baby grows.

Unfortunately, progesterone also affects the ligaments in your back. It is not just the ligaments in your lower back that are affected; the middle and upper back are affected as well. As progesterone makes them soft and more pliable, they can stretch and become very painful.

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"very important when you are pregnant"

This makes it necessary to be especially careful about your posture and the positions you put your body in. Good back mechanics and avoiding bending becomes very important when you are pregnant.

The second common cause of early pregnancy back pain is weight from the uterus pulling on the back. The uterus is supported by ligaments that are attached to the back. As the fetus grows and the uterus enlarges, it begins to put more pressure on these ligaments, which in turn puts more pressure on the back. Sometimes, this will improve at around 20 weeks gestation, because as your uterus expands, it becomes more supported by the pelvis.

"other things that can cause back pain"

There are other things that can cause back pain, and they can occur early in your pregnancy. So, any symptoms or pain you are having when you are pregnant should be discussed with your obstetrician.

If you are having any fevers, or chills, or any burning with urination, your doctor would want to know. You may have a bladder or kidney infection, or other problem that can be treated.

"The best time to begin treating..."

The best time to begin treating your early pregnancy back pain is before you are pregnant. Poor posture, incorrect lifting habits, too much bending and lifting, and obesity can all contribute to early pregnancy back pain.

Begin by correcting your posture. Stand up straight and tall, now while you can, later in your pregnancy this may be more problematic. Sit up straight, and put a small pillow or rolled up towel behind your back to support your lumbar area. Exercises can also help improve your posture.

Don't make Your Early Pregnancy Back Pain Worse

"avoid any heavy lifting"

Limit how much you bend and lift, especially as your pregnancy develops. Early on, bending should not present much of a problem, but you should definitely avoid any heavy lifting. When you do lift something:

  • Make sure it is not too heavy.
  • Keep it close to your body.
  • Keep your back straight, and lift with your legs.
  • And remember this sage advice, from an old doctor that I used to work with, "the highest form of good back mechanics is to get somebody else to do it."

"Any weight you can lose while planning..."

Any weight you can lose while planning your pregnancy will help. Trying to lose weight in the middle of your pregnancy is much more problematic, and should be discussed with your obstetrician.

Exercise is always good. In the first trimester it is generally safe, and can go a long ways toward managing your early pregnancy back pain. There is more information about exercises at Exercises for Back Pain, and several exercises are described at Low Back Pain Exercises.

As with any exercise program, discuss it with your doctor first, then start off easy. When exercising, doing gentler exercises with more repetitions can be more effective than doing too much. Then you can progress these as fast as is comfortable for you.

"a problem that can be managed and controlled"

Early pregnancy back pain is a common problem that may get worse as your pregnancy develops. But, it is a problem that can be managed and controlled. So begin now to work with your obstetrician. Find out if you need to lose weight, and which exercises can you do to get stronger and work on your posture.

Get busy and do it right now, don't let back pain ruin this very wonderful experience.



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