safe motherhood


Back pain

Most of the weight you gain when you’re pregnant goes on your front. This means that the weight of your abdomen pulls your lower spine forwards, putting a strain on your lower back. Your shoulders get pulled back to compensate, which puts a strain on your upper back. At the same time your muscles and ligaments will have been softened by pregnancy hormones, which means that the bones in your spine will not get their usual degree of support. All this can lead to backache.

Avoiding back pain

• Stand tall. Lift your ribs and open out your shoulder blades. Let your shoulders relax. Make sure that your weight is evenly distributed between both feet.

• Hold your bump in tight. Visualise your baby as being tucked into the pelvis, closer to your centre of gravity.

• Support your spine when you’re sitting. Sit well back against the back of the chair or put a cushion in the small of your back.

• Take care when you’re lifting something heavy. Always bend from your knees, not from your waist.

• Keep moving. Activities like walking and swimming will help keep your spine flexible.

• If you rest or sleep lying on your back — although it’s better not to once you’re into the second half of your pregnancy — roll over onto your side before you get up so you don’t put too much strain on it.

• Wear a maternity girdle if the problem is severe.

• Wear flat shoes.

In the last month of your pregnancy you may get backache because your baby has moved down into your pelvis in such a way that their back is lying against your back. If that happens, you can relieve the pressure by kneeling on all fours from time to time.