Pregnancy is an exciting and sometimes uncomfortable experience. As your tummy swells, more and more pressure is exerted on your lower back. Pregnancy back pain can cause trouble sleeping and discomfort throughout the day. Luckily, there are lots of things you can do to relieve back pain during pregnancy.
In this article, we will discuss natural ways to alleviate pregnancy back pain and provide good advice about the best use of a pregnancy pillow. Read on to learn more.
Tips to help you relieve back pain during pregnancy
- Exercise regularly. It’s smart to begin an exercise regimen before you conceive and then consult with your doctor to adapt it as needed as your pregnancy progresses.
- Put your feet up. Whenever you have a choice of standing, sitting or reclining, choose reclining. Keeping your feet elevated as much as possible helps prevent edema and alleviates lower back pain.
- Take a siesta. A half hour nap in the afternoon gives your body a chance to rest completely and heal.
- Sleep with a pregnancy pillow. A comfy, well-designed pregnancy pillow supports your growing tummy and helps you find a comfortable sleep position.
- Try gentle heat. Apply a heating pad set on a low setting to increase blood circulation and soothe aching muscles.
- Use over-the-counter pain relievers sparingly and only under doctor’s supervision.
A pregnancy pillow can help you find a comfortable sleep position
When you are pregnant, you may not be able to sleep in your accustomed position. This is especially true if you are a back sleeper. Sleeping on your back when pregnant applies a lot of pressure to your internal organs and pelvis and can interfere with blood circulation in the legs. For this reason, it important to find a satisfactory alternate. Most obstetricians recommend left-side sleeping.
Using various configurations of pillows is a familiar way to add support and comfort, but this kind of DIY pregnancy pillow project can be unreliable as stacked pillows tend to move about while you sleep.
A pregnancy pillow is specially designed to provide the right support at the right part of your body without sliding about when you move in your sleep.
There are several different shapes of pregnancy pillows to choose from. You could select a full-body “J” shape, a “C” shaped pillow to cradle your belly or a donut or wedge shape depending on your needs.
A pregnancy pillow may be used just to support your tummy, or you may want a full body pillow that will also help you align your legs while you sleep to help prevent aches and pains in your pelvis and lower back.
When selecting a pregnancy pillow your goal should be to alleviate pressure on your joints, ligaments and muscles. Here are six tips to help you get the best results with the pillow you choose.
- Be sure your bed is comfortable. If your problem is caused by an uncomfortable mattress, you’ll need to solve that problem first.
- Get a good pillow for your neck. If you are used to sleeping on your back, the pillow you currently use might not provide proper neck support for side sleeping. Look for a thick, cervical curve pillow in a cushy memory foam material for maximum comfort and support.
- If your main back pain is caused by the weight of your tummy exerting pressure on your back muscles, a wedge shaped pregnancy pillow supporting your belly may be all that you need.
- If you tend to roll backwards as you sleep on your side, a wedge shaped pillow used as a back brace can help you stay in position.
- If you are experiencing pain in your hips and thighs because your legs are not aligned properly while you sleep, a whole body pillow that provides support between your legs can help. Lie on your left side with the pillow supporting your belly and your right inner thigh. This helps reduce ligament and muscle strain in the hips and will prevent sciatic pain.
- Support your foot as well. When you support your right leg with a whole body pillow, be sure that it is long enough to also support your right foot. If your foot is dangling off the edge of the pillow, circulation will be impaired and edema will result.
When should you get a pregnancy pillow?
It’s a good idea to start using your pregnancy pillow early in your pregnancy so that you can get used to sleeping on your side and feel comfortable with your pillow. You are very likely to become quite attached to it and to continue using it after your pregnancy. In fact, a well designed pregnancy pillow can easily be repurposed as a nursing pillow after baby arrives.