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Back Pain During Pregnancy

What Causes Back Pain During Pregnancy?

There are several factors that can contribute to back pain during pregnancy including hormonal changes, mechanical stresses, and more.

back pain during pregnancy, what causes back pain during pregnancy, lower back pain in early pregnancy, how to relieve back pain during pregnancy

Pelvic girdle pain, PGP, is pain associated with the pelvic region and is common in pregnant women. Those suffering from PGP may have pain in the pelvic joints, lower back and upper thigh areas. The long list of potential causes for PGP include shifts in the pelvic joint in preparation for birth, hormonal changes, postural changes and more.5

Lumbar pain, LP, is a different type of back pain, also common in pregnant women. LP is pain around and above the waist area. Sufferers of lumbar pain may experience back pain when sitting or standing in the same position for prolonged periods of time. Their back muscles may also be sore and tender to the touch.4

Lower Back Pain in Early Pregnancy

When most people think of back pain during pregnancy they probably associate it with the stress on your back from the added weight of the baby. But what about back pain in early pregnancy?

The causes of lower back pain in early pregnancy is not well understood though many believe it’s associated with hormonal changes in pregnant women. During pregnancy a woman’s body produces an increased amount of the hormone relaxin. This hormone helps relax the ligaments in preparation for childbirth. It’s suspected that relaxed ligaments in the sacro-iliac joint of the spine contribute to lower back pain in early pregnancy.1,2

How do you get Rid of Back Pain During Pregnancy?

Recommendations for getting rid of back pain during pregnancy are similar to relief methods for non-pregnant people.3

  • Wear shoes with appropriate support.
  • Practice good posture, stand up straight and use proper lifting techniques.
  • Optimize your sleeping posture. Sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs relieves pressure on your spine.
  • Use a heating pad.
  • Physical activity and stretching can help increase your strength and reduce strain on your spine. (Note: It’s best to review activity with your healthcare provider prior to starting a new regimen.)
  • Pregnancy massage has been said to provide relief from back pain during pregnancy for some people.

What Can I Take for Back Pain During Pregnancy?

Non-steroid anti-inflammatories, or NSAIDs, are often helpful in treating back pain. However, many common over the counter drugs are not recommended for women during pregnancy. It’s best to consult with your doctor before taking any medications while pregnant.


  1. Katonis P, Kampouroglou A, Aggelopoulos A, et al. Pregnancy-related low back pain. Hippokratia. 2011;15(3):205-210.
  2. Spine Universe
  3. MayoClinic
  4. Spine Health
  5. Wikipedia
*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
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