What can you expect when you’re expecting? Well, a whole lot of physical changes, which can leave you feeling achy and sore.
Low back pain is a common physical complaint during pregnancy, so let’s dive into why this happens and what people who are pregnant can do about it.
What’s Going On In My Back During Pregnancy?
Pregnant folks are no stranger to back pain, which can occur because of several reasons…
Weight gain varies widely between people and pregnancies. About 50% of weight gained during pregnancy is from the fetus, placenta, and amniotic fluid. 25% is from the uterus and breasts. The remaining 25% is maternal body fluid as blood volume increases. More weight means more stress on your tissues, which can sometimes lead to back pain.
The uterus expands more rapidly after 20 weeks of pregnancy, which changes your center of gravity. This can increase a forward head posture, round your shoulders forward, and cause your pelvis to tilt forward as the uterus gets heavier. The result? Lots of stretch across the abdomen and shortening of the muscles in the lower back.
The hips externally rotate and your base of support widens to keep you stable, which changes the mechanics of your legs and back during walking.
The hormone relaxin gets all the credit for making your body feel like a wet noodle during pregnancy, but there’s not a lot of evidence to suggest that this happens in your low back specifically. However, a pregnant person can experience significant pain when the pubic symphysis (where the two halves of the pelvis join) spreads further apart or is asymmetrical due to excessive joint laxity.