Common Pregnancy Pains and Their Causes
Backaches are usually caused by the strain put on the back muscles, changing hormone levels, and changes in your posture.
- Wear low-heeled (but not flat) shoes.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects.
- Squat down with your knees bent when picking things up instead of bending down at the waist.
- Don't stand on your feet for long periods. If you need to stand for long periods, place one foot on a stool or box for support.
- Sit in a chair with good back support, or place a small pillow behind your lower back. Also, place your feet on a footrest or stool.
- Check that your bed is firm. If needed, put a board between the mattress and box spring.
- Sleep on your left or right side with a pillow between your legs for support.
- Apply a hot water bottle, heating pad on low setting, take a warm bath or shower, or try massage.
- Perform exercises, as advised by your health care provider, to make your back muscles stronger and help relieve the soreness.
- Maintain good posture. Standing up straight will ease the strain on your back.
- Contact your health care provider if you have a low backache that goes around your stomach and does not go away within one hour after you change position or rest. This might be a sign of premature labor.
Abdominal Pain or Discomfort
Sharp, shooting pains on either side of your stomach may result from the stretching tissue supporting your growing uterus. These pains may also travel down your thigh and into your leg.
- Change your position or activity until you are comfortable; avoid sharp turns or movements.
- If you have a sudden pain in your abdomen, bend forward to the point of pain to relieve tension and relax the tissue.
- Apply a hot water bottle, heating pad, or take a warm bath or shower.
- Try a massage.
- Make sure you are getting enough fluids.
- Take Tylenol (acetaminophen) occasionally.
- Contact your health care provider if the pain is severe or constant or if you are less than 36 weeks pregnant and you have signs of labor.
The uterine muscles will contract (tighten) starting as early as the second trimester of pregnancy on. Irregular, infrequent contractions are called Braxton-Hicks contractions (also known as "false labor pains"). These are normal during pregnancy.
- Try to relax
- Change positions. Sometimes this can ease the contractions.