Carrying extra weight during your pregnancy will inevitably put extra strain on your back. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to help your body withstand the extra stress and also relieve the pain.

Control Your Weight Gain
It’s extremely important to pay attention to how much weight you are gaining on your journey to becoming a mother. If you are a normal weight before pregnancy, you should only gain (on average) 15 kilograms throughout your pregnancy. Read more about the ‘eating for two’ myth here. Most of your weight gain should occur in the end of your second and third trimesters, as that is when your baby is physically growing.

Try Some Conditioning Exercises
Regardless of the extra weight, your pregnancy belly shifts your center of gravity, often causing your lower back to be pulled forward to help you keep your balance. Strengthening your core will help condition your body to handle these bodily changes throughout pregnancy, and in ultimately giving birth. A stronger core and better posture will support your spine and back muscles and prevent them from overarching and causing you pain. There is no reason why you should not exercise during pregnancy, just remember to adjust the exercises to suit your changing body. Some great exercises to alleviate back pain include:

  • Lower back extensions
  • Planks
  • Light overhead pulldowns
  • Pelvic tilts
  • Swimming

Prenatal Yoga
Prenatal based yoga will also help you in strengthening the muscles associated with a healthy back during your pregnancy. It can aid in calming the nervous system and targeting pain associated with sciatica (pain from the sciatic nerve) during pregnancy. If you’re not already practicing, be sure to find a knowledgeable instructor with experience in prenatal yoga to get you on the right track.

Change Up Your Sleeping Position
Most women experience some relief in back pain when they sleep on their side with their knees bent and a pillow between their legs. This puts less strain on your back and hips and also supports your abdomen.

Apply Heat
Whether it is a hot water bottle or a warm bath, applying heat pressure fights pain by allowing better circulation and increases the flow of oxygen to your back muscles. Try it out next time you are feeling tension in your back.

All of the above tips work best in conjunction with each other. If your back pain is constant and severe, it is important to talk to your doctor about it to ensure that there are no underlying causes or concerns.