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Pregnancy backaches

WebMD Medical Reference
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

Backaches in pregnancy are usually caused by the strain put on the back muscles, changing hormone levels and changes in your posture. Ligaments in your body become softer and more stretchy as the body prepares for birth.


  • Wear low-heeled, flatter shoes, which distribute weight better.
  • Don't lift heavy objects.
  • Squat down with your knees bent when picking things up instead of bending over at the waist.
  • When turning round, avoid twisting the spine by also moving the feet
  • Don't stand on your feet for long periods. If you need to stand for long periods, place one foot on a stool or box for support.
  • Sit in a chair with good back support, or place a small pillow behind your lower back. Also place your feet on a footrest or stool.
  • Check that your bed is firm. If needed, put a board between the mattress and box spring.
  • Sleep on your left or right side with a pillow between your legs for support.
  • Apply a hot water bottle, an electric blanket on a low setting, take a warm bath or shower, or try massage.
  • Perform exercises, as advised by your doctor, physiotherapist or midwife, to make your back muscles stronger and help relieve the soreness. The NHS recommends exercising in water (aquanatal classes), massage therapy or back care classes to help to relieve pregnancy back pain.
  • Try a support belt.
  • Maintain good posture. Standing up straight will ease the strain on your back.
  • For painful backache, a referral to a specialist obstetric physiotherapist may be recommended.
  • Seek medical advice if you have a low backache that goes around your stomach and does not go away within one hour after you change position or rest. This might be a sign of premature labour.
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Reviewed on January 23, 2017

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