Back pain is often a fact of pregnancy life. It is predicted that at least half of pregnant women will experience it at some point during their pregnancy.

Back pain through pregnancy normally takes the form of aches, stiffness and soreness in the upper or lower back plus hips and can sometimes be felt in the legs and buttocks. Other factors come into play during the postpartum period too.

During pregnancy, your expanding uterus stretches and weakens your abdominal muscles which can alter your posture, putting a strain on your back. You will also put on extra weight during (and after) pregnancy which will mean more work for your muscles and increase stress on your joints plus a shift forward, in gravity.

Photo by Kewei Hu on Unsplash
Photo by Kewei Hu on Unsplash

Hormonal (relaxin) changes which occur to loosen your joints and ligaments in preparation of your baby’s passage, can also result to back pains. Unfortunately, all these changes don’t automatically go away as soon as you give birth.

Especially with older Motherhood, back pain is common and do not necessarily mean danger however, there are back pains that come with some symptoms that mean trouble. So it is best to be aware of it and know how to manage the distress.

When to worry – during pregnancy

  1. A fever, when accompanied by a dull ache across your lower back or along the sides of your back between the ribs and hips, could be a sign of a kidney or bladder infection that needs immediate attention and treatment with antibiotics. As the pregnancy advances, the growing uterus puts pressure on the bladder, so frequent/urgent urination is expected but if these symptoms also include painful urination, blood in the urine, chills, or fever, then it is a cause for concern.
  • It is advised that when you experience back pain along with vaginal bleeding or any change in vaginal discharge, you should see your doctor immediately as it could indicate a placental issue or an early rupture of your waters.  Watch for an abdominal sensation that might seem like a “tightening uterus,” which could be painless or period-like cramping. If it comes and goes at regular intervals, uterine contractions could be happening, which could possibly lead to preterm labour.
  • Back pain that comes on suddenly and severely, without an apparent cause, should be examined to rule out the rare but painful conditions of pregnancy-association osteoporosis and arthritis. Also, if you experience back pain resulting from physical trauma like a fall or a car accident, contact your doctor immediately to rule out any serious injury to yourself or the baby

At our #MayHangout, Nurse Ijeoma advised us to exercise at least 3 times a week before conceiving and either do yoga or mild aerobics during pregnancy to avoid back pains during and after pregnancy.

She also advised us to watch our posture during pregnancy, while sitting and standing plus during breastfeeding.

Back pains can be avoided and managed effectively. Want to know more ways to manage motherhood as an older mom? Then join our monthly hangouts – network and share experience with like minds plus get the medical attention you need with no fear for stigmatization.