What causes low back pain in early pregnancy?

There are various causes for low back pain in early pregnancy, which up to 75% of pregnant women experience. Some of the most common causes are the growth of the uterus, changes in posture and an increase in hormones. All these things are normal and will not affect the fetus or the pregnancy. In rare cases, low back pain can be a symptom of something more serious, such as a kidney infection or sciatica.

The body's center of gravity changes during pregnancy to accommodate the growing uterus. This usually means a change in posture as the body tries to adjust to a new center of gravity. Adopting a new posture can use back muscles that are not used often, causing lower back muscle pain. Although many women don't experience a large amount of weight gain early in pregnancy, those who do can increase back pain as the extra weight makes muscles and joints work harder than usual.

Hormones also play a role in low back pain. The increase in hormones tends to loosen the joints to make room for the baby and physically make delivery easier, but this also loosens the joint that connects the pelvis to the spine. Aches and pains in the lower back can be an effect of this loose joint because the pelvis moves more than it did before pregnancy.

In more extreme cases, low back pain in early pregnancy can be a symptom of sciatica or a kidney infection. Only about 1% of pregnant women suffer from sciatica, which is characterized by pain or numbness in the legs that can reach down to the legs and toes. Kidney infections can be identified by pain under the ribs, especially when accompanied by vomiting, fever, or bloody urine.

Most low back pain occurs in the back of the pelvis or in the lumbar vertebrae of the lower back. Both can be aggravated by intense exercise, twisting, lifting, and climbing. To combat pain in early pregnancy, some medical professionals recommend stretching, swimming, and low-impact walking. A medical professional should be consulted before a pregnant woman experiencing back pain attempts any of these pain relief methods. It is also helpful for her to be mindful of correct posture, avoid standing for long periods of time, and wear comfortable shoes.

Go up