Approximately 60 percent of all women experience some degree of back pain during pregnancy. During your second trimester, your tummy grows big quickly and changes your centre of gravity. The ligaments in your body naturally become softer and stretch to prepare you for labour. This can put a strain on the joints of your lower back and pelvis, which can cause a backache.

Although you may not completely eliminate backache during pregnancy, there are a few things you can do to take care of your spine and make the pregnancy a lot easier. Below are a few helpful tips:

Avoid lifting heavy objects. As much as possible, avoid lifting heavy weights but if you have to, bend your knees into a squatting position, keeping your back straight and pushing upwards with the strength in your thighs. Avoid twisting your waist when carrying heavy things.

Wear flat shoes. Flat shoes allow your weight to be evenly distributed. Wearing high heels will continuously hurt your back. So wear low-heeled shoes or sandals because these will help you to handle oedema, which is swelling of feet caused by water retention.

 Exercise gently. Exercises, including swimming, should be done in moderation as this helps strengthen and stretch your muscles for improved posture and flexibility. If you cannot swim or jog, ensure you take short walks daily to keep your body mobile and to enhance blood circulation.

 Keep your back straight and well supported. If you must be on your feet for long, stand tall and keep your shoulders relaxed. Tuck your bottom in slightly so your pelvis is not tipping backwards. While at home and work, make sure the chairs you use provide good support, preferably with a straight back, arms, and a firm cushion. Use a footrest to elevate your feet slightly, and don’t cross your legs, instead sit with your legs crossed parallel to the floor, as this is much kinder on your back than sitting with legs crossed at the knee point.

Sleep on a firm mattress. A firm mattress can also help to prevent and relieve backache. If your mattress is too soft, put a piece of hardboard under it to make it firmer. Adopt an on the side sleeping position as this will reduce pressure on your spine. Place a pillow between your legs and under your waist to enhance blood circulation. A maternity pillow assures you comfortable nights.

 Get a massage. Pamper yourself without regrets. Get as much massages as you can throughout the pregnancy and also rest as much as you can. Invest in a hot water bottle for your back and make sure you always wear comfortable maternity attire.

These additional tips will assure you of a pregnancy with minimal back pains.

  • Move your feet when turning round to avoid twisting your spine.
  • Work at a surface high enough to prevent you from stooping.
  • Try to balance the weight between two bags when carrying shopping.
  • Make sure you get enough rest, particularly later in pregnancy.
  • Take breaks by walking or standing and stretching at least once an hour. Sitting too long can make your back hurt even more.
  • Try not to stand too long, either. If you work on your feet, try to place one foot on a low stool to take some pressure off your lower back.
  • Think good thoughts. A calm mind leads to a looser back.
  • Take a warm bath often.

Published in November 2012