Relieve your aches and pains
Loosening of the pelvic joints during your pregnancy — not to mention moving, lifting, standing, sitting, or sleeping in an awkward position — can put extra stress on your back while you’re pregnant.
Although back pain often improves on its own, there are some safe, easy ways to help you feel better faster.
- Lie on your left side with your knees bent and a pillow between your legs. (Avoid sleeping on your back after your fourth month.)
- Change positions every 30 minutes. If you must sit for a long time, take breaks to stand up and walk around frequently.
- Put cold packs on your back for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, several times a day. (Be sure to use a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.)
- Soak in a warm (but not hot) bath.
- It may feel good to take short walks or do gentle stretching. Ask your practitioner about safe, back-strengthening exercises.
- Swim or wade in a pool. The feeling of weightlessness you’ll get in the water can be a welcome break for your back.
- If you need to pick up something, squat instead of bending over.
- Ask your practitioner about taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain. Do not take ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), or aspirin unless advised by your doctor.
When to call your doctor
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your practitioner if your back doesn’t feel better after a week.
Call your practitioner if:
- you have regular contractions (5 to 6 minutes apart, lasting at least 45 seconds each) or are experiencing preterm labor.
- you have new pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness, especially in your buttocks, genital or rectal area, legs, or feet.
- your back pain gets worse or more frequent.