3 Causes of Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy

3 Causes of Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy

For expecting mothers, pregnancy should be an exciting time waiting for your baby to arrive. But along the way, planning for the birth, preparing your home, looking for pediatricians, etc. can come together to create a stressful experience.

To top it all off, during all this preparation, your body is regularly changing to accommodate the new life inside you. Unfortunately, many of these changes can lead to lower back pain during your pregnancy. Continue reading to learn the three causes of lower back pain during pregnancy, and what your options may be for treatment.

What are the Causes?

1. Hormonal Changes

During pregnancy, your body naturally produces a hormone called relaxin. Relaxin helps prep the body during the later parts of pregnancy. It works to loosen the muscles and ligaments in your pelvic area so you are ready for childbirth.

Unfortunately, relaxin can indirectly lead to a rise in lower back pain. As the ligaments in your pelvis loosen, you may experience round ligament pain. The round ligaments are responsible for holding the uterus in place and connecting to the pelvis. As those ligaments stretch from relaxin, you may experience sharp pain or cramps.

Another phenomenon you may experience due to relaxin is PSD or Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction. The pubic symphysis sits at the pelvic girdle and joins the left and right sides of your pelvis together. It is connected by ligaments, and like other ligaments in the area during pregnancy, can loosen from the hormonal changes that occur. Pain may be felt in the back of the pelvis and can manifest as tenderness in your lower back, or sharp or tingling pain. In addition, PSD can be indicated by a clicking sound from your pelvis or a grinding feeling.

2. SI Joint

Your sacroiliac joints, known as the SI joints, connect your pelvis to your lower spine. Lower back pain that is attributed to the SI joint is often the result of the additional weight that expecting mothers may gain during pregnancy. Typically, women can gain anywhere from 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy, as the baby grows and the body begins retaining fluids. The additional weight can add stress to your SI joints that can result in pain felt in the gluteal area and lower back, as well as walking.

Another cause of lower back pain via the SI joint can be that your center of gravity has shifted due to carrying your baby. Your posture may change to compensate for the new weight, however at the cost of pain in your lower back.

3. Sciatica

Lastly, sciatica is often a common cause of lower back pain during pregnancy. Like SI joint pain, sciatica can be the cause of additional weight and fluid retention during pregnancy, however, rather than stressing the joints, pressure is put on the spine. As your uterus and baby grow, the spine can become compressed causing pain. Occasionally, your baby’s actual position inside you could be adding pressure to the sciatic nerve.

Sciatic pain can be felt within the lower back, buttocks, and down the legs. Symptoms may present themselves as tingling or numbness in the mentioned areas or sharp lower back pain and can also be associated with prolonged periods of sitting or standing, as well as specific movements like bending or twisting.

What You Can Do for Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy

Seeking treatment is always the best option for lower back pain when expecting. While certain phenomena or conditions can go away on their own after childbirth, pain that lasts longer than several weeks should be treated. Lower back pain left undiagnosed faces an increased chance of becoming chronic postpartum, which can lead to postural changes or more episodes of pain.

During your pregnancy, you should consult with your doctor on the best treatment options. For many expecting mothers, physical or manual therapy may be recommended, as exercises and stretching can help greatly with reducing or alleviating the symptoms of any lower back pain while expecting.

At Airrosti, our Providers treat mothers-to-be and can help diagnose and treat your pain at the source. We will create a personalized treatment plan for you and your condition, as well as provide you with tools and resources to continue your recovery at home. If you’re ready to leave your pain in the past and begin enjoying your pregnancy, schedule an appointment to be seen by one of our Providers, either in-clinic or virtually!

Call (800) 404-6050 for more information.

Read our Medical Disclaimer here.

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