Most women experience some degree of back pain during or after pregnancy. The normal body changes and the resulting postural changes of pregnancy contribute to back pain from top to bottom:
- Increased weight of the breasts causes a more forward head and rounded shoulders, and an achy neck and midback.
- Increased weight and forward displacement of the uterus shifts the body’s center of gravity upward and forward, causing lumbar swayback and a tight and achy low back.
- Lax ligaments in the pelvis set the stage for sciatic nerve impingement or pubic symphysis pain.
The stretching of the abdominal muscles over the expanding uterus causes the muscles to weaken and lose effectiveness in their role as stabilizers of the lumbar spine. Did you know that abdominal weakness is the main culprit in low back pain in all populations (not just pregnant ladies)? Tight cervical spine muscles and weak thoracic extensors account for most neck and shoulder aches.
Fortunately, much can be done to counteract the persistent forces of gravity, reducing the postural changes of pregnancy and the resulting aches and pains:
Just a few minutes a day of stretching what is tight and strengthening what is weak can go a long way toward a pain-free pregnancy and a rapid postpartum recovery. So, don’t delay… get moving, mamas!