Lower Back Pain

Low back pain is common in pregnancy. Risk factors include pre-existing back pain and back pain in a previous pregnancy.

In most cases, back pain is due to altered posture, muscle weakness and joint laxity. Fluid retention within connective tissue can also contribute. Disc herniation is rarely the cause of back pain during pregnancy. Contrary to what most people believe, epidural anaesthesia does not cause long-term back pain.

Back pain may occur at any time during pregnancy, but is most common in the second half of pregnancy. It is usually aggravated by activity and relieved by rest. It occurs in the lower back, but may radiate down the back of the thighs or over the lower part of the abdomen and front of the thighs. The pain is often worse at night, especially with turning, and may interfere with sleep.

Back pain may occur at any time during pregnancy, but is most common in the second half of pregnancy.

It is usually aggravated by activity and rest. It occurs in the lower back, but may radiate down the back of the thighs or over the lower part of the abdomen and front of the thighs. The pain is often worse at night, especially with turning, and may interfere with sleep.

Back pain is best managed by early referral to a physiotherapist. Back muscle strengthening and core strengthening exercises go a long way to preventing escalation of the problem.

Investigations such as MRI scans may be needed if the back pain worsens or is associated with leg pains. Disc herniation may be the cause of persistent and severe pain.

Women who engage in regular exercise during pregnancy are less likely to have back pain. Apart from specific treatments undertaken by a physiotherapist, women can join exercise groups to improve their core strength.

Activities such as yoga and Pilates are most helpful.