Back Pain During Pregnancy

Pelvic or back pain during pregnancy is common, affecting an estimated 80% of women according to Bastiaanssen et al, 2005. Back pain can occur at any time during pregnancy; however, it typically increases during the last trimester, often due to the increase in the weight of the baby. This additional weight places excess stress on the joints, ligaments, intervertebral discs and surrounding muscles, sometimes leading to painful symptoms.

Hormonal changes also play a significant role; levels of oestrogen, progesterone and other hormones increase throughout the pregnancy. One hormone associated with back pain is relaxin. The role of this hormone is to allow the ligaments to stretch and become more lax, something which is essential for safe delivery of the baby. However, this also means that joints and ligaments may become prone to aches and pains and even injury caused by overstretching, hence why some women experience back pain during pregnancy.

back pain during pregnancy

Is Exercising When Pregnant A Good Idea?

In most cases exercising safely is a good idea, it helps to keep the mother fit and healthy, improve all round well-being, it can also reduce the risk of back pain and help the post-partum recovery and getting back into shape. Exercise should always be discussed with a midwife or GP as it may not be recommended for high-risk pregnancies.

Tips to Help Avoid and Reduce Back Pain During Pregnancy

pregnancy exercise


There are a number of pregnancy exercises that may be helpful to build strength and relieve painful symptoms. It is a good idea to begin by safely strengthening the supportive ‘core’ muscles of the lower abdomen and the pelvic floor, as this will help to support the baby and the back. These exercises should be practised from the early stages of the pregnancy, as this will help to improve the strength and prevent any weakening of these muscle groups.

A physiotherapist or pregnancy yoga instructor should be able to recommend a series of useful exercises to be practised at home. The following are some basic examples:

Persistent Back Pain

If symptoms of back pain persist, become more severe, or include any other types of symptoms, it is important to seek medical advice from your midwife or GP, as this could be an indication of early labour or another medical condition.

Our Services

At ProPhysiotherapy, we understand what a unique and special time pregnancy is. It is a highly individualised journey, and no two pregnancies are ever the same. As such, we offer a range of pregnancy-related services to cater specifically for pregnant women and their babies. Our services focus on improving any painful symptoms, providing relaxation, as well as improving fitness and general well-being. Get in touch today to find out more about our pregnancy-related services including obstetric physiotherapy and pregnancy massage.


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