7 Common Pregnancy Body Aches Nobody Wants

Body aches are perfectly normal and at some point during your pregnancy you are bound to experience them.

But this doesn't mean that you have to accept them.

Feel good about yourself again and read on, to discover how you can remedy 7 common pregnancy body aches nobody wants!

Lower Back Pain in Pregnancy

Causes:

One of the main causes of lower back pain in pregnancy is an increase in the pregnancy hormone 'relaxin'. Relaxin loosens ligaments and opens up certain joints around your core to accomodate your browing baby. As your baby grows, your centre of gravity shifts which can change your posture and increase lower back discomfort. Stress can also accumulate in weakened areas of the body, increasing back pain.

Symptoms:

  • Postural changes
  • Difficulty getting up and sitting down
  • Extra stiffness in the lower back region after waking up

How to ease:

pregnant woman sleeping on side to ease lower back pain

  • Elevate your feet while sleeping
  • Sleep on your side and not on your back
  • Avoid high heels or shoes that have inadequate support
  • Use a pregnancy support belt to help lift your belly and ease the stress off your back

Pelvic Pain in Pregnancy

Causes:

Common causes of pelvic pain in pregnancy include growth of the uterus and foetus, pressure of the baby’s weight, inflammation due to movement of specific joints during pregnancy and secretion of relaxin. An estimated one in five pregnant women experience pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy.

Symptoms:

  • Pain across the pubic bone at the front and centre, roughly at the same level as the hips
  • Pain across one or both sides of the lower back
  • Pain in the perineum region (between the vagina and anus)
  • Pain spreading down to the thighs
  • Pain that gets worse when getting out of a car, turning over in bed, walking or going up/down the stairs
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How to ease:

  • Always sit down when getting dressed
  • Sleep on your side with a pillow between your legs
  • Don’t lift or push heavy objects
  • Perform exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor, back, abdominal and hip muscles
  • Use a pelvic support belt if necessary

Upper Back and Neck Pain in Pregnancy

Causes:

Hormonal changes, getting accustomed to a different sleeping position, excessive pressure on the upper back muscles due to a growing abdomen and reduced mobility, etc.

Symptoms:

  • Aches and stiffness in the neck and upper back muscles
  • Sharp and burning pain when trying to move your neck
  • A reduced range of motion in the upper back and shoulders as well as neck
  • Weakness in the upper back and neck muscles

How to ease:

pregnant woman streching to improve flexibility and mobility
  • Perform specific stretches to improve flexibility and mobility in the neck/upper back muscles
  • Hydrotherapy – alternate between hot and cold showers to improve blood flow and reduce inflammation
  • Have the area massaged
  • When sitting, avoid slouching and keep your head and neck straight

Shoulder Pain in Pregnancy

Causes:

The loosening up of certain hormones during pregnancy combined with changes in walking, standing, sitting and sleeping posture can cause discomfort and shoulder pain in early pregnancy.

Symptoms:

  • Muscle stiffness in the shoulders or between the shoulder blades
  • Shoulder pain radiating down the cervical region which increases over the course of the day
  • First trimester shoulder pain accompanied by migraine, vomiting nausea, unusual weight gain and low blood pressure
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How to ease:

  • Yoga, acupuncture and stretching exercises to ease tension in the shoulders
  • Avoid physically strenuous activities that unnecessarily tax the shoulders
  • Have your spouse give you a massage before going to sleep
  • Ice the affected area from time to time

Hip Pain in Pregnancy

Causes of:

Hormonal changes in the body means that connective tissue relaxes and softens more than normal. Joints and ligaments that hold the bones in the pelvis start to get loose as well. Other causes of hip pain during pregnancy include pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Symptoms:

pregnant woman holding belly during third trimester

  • Pain in or around the hips that ranges from dull and mild to sharp, constant and severe
  • Pain that radiates to your buttocks, lower back or thighs
  • Pelvic pain during specific movements like walking
  • Pain and discomfort in the hips and lower back while lying down to sleep

How to ease:

  • Yoga and stretching movements to open up the hips, lower back and pelvic area
  • Have your partner massage the edge of our triangular sacrum
  • Apply compresses to the sore area
  • Take a warm bath to relax muscles in the hips

Rib Pain in Pregnancy

Causes:

Pressure and weight from a growing foetus, heartburn, constipation and musculoskeletal changes all contribute to rib pain pregnancy.  

Symptoms:

  • Indigestion and heartburn
  • Shoulder ache due to pressure on the diaphragm
  • Shortness of breath due to an expanding uterus
  • Pain directly under the breasts
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How to ease:

  • Stretch and perform light exercises regularly
  • Stretch on a birthing ball
  • Use a heat pad to relieve pain
  • Try yoga
  • Wear loose fitting clothes
  • Avoid long hours of sitting

Sciatica in Pregnancy

Causes:

The sciatic nerve runs under the uterus all the way to your legs. A common cause of sciatica in pregnancy is the pressure exerted on the nerve due to a developing baby.

Symptoms:

sciatica in foot during pregnancy
  • Sharp and shooting pain that runs from your lower back and buttocks down to your thigh
  • Pain may be felt in the foot as well in the form of small needles or a tingling sensation
  • Constant or occasional pain on either side of the leg or buttocks

How to ease:

  • Lie down on your opposite side (where it doesn’t hurt)
  • Light swimming can ease discomfort
  • Avoid standing for too long at a time
  • Apply heat/cold to the affected areas
  • Wear a pregnancy girdle
  • Anti-inflammatory like Tylenol if pain is unbearable

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