Body Wise: backache during pregnancy

About three-quarters of all pregnant women suffer from backache that starts in the second trimester, and a third of them experience severe problems. Backache during pregnancy is usually caused by a shift in posture, due to your growing abdomen. Hormones that cause joints and ligaments to loosen can also contribute to back strain.

For many women, back problems are particularly acute at night.

Some women also feel pain in their buttocks, or running down the back of one or both of their legs. This type of pain is called sciatica, and it the result of the growing uterus’s pressure on the sciatic nerve in your back.

To relieve general backache and sciatica:

  • Try yoga and Pilates. Most prenatal yoga and Pilates classes will address these issues and work on strengthening the abdominal muscles in order to better support the back.
  • Apply warm compresses, hot water bottles, or a heating pad to the area that hurts.
  • Have a professional massage. Choose a practitioner who has experience with pregnant women.
  • Place your feet on a low stool when you are sitting. This will take strain off your lower back and sciatic nerve.
  • Put a pillow between your knees while lying on your side in bed. This will help keep your hips and back in proper alignment.
  • When you rise from a lying-down position, roll over onto your side and use your upper arm to push yourself up into a sitting position before you stand up.


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