Upper and lower back pain
As your baby grows, your body’s center of gravity moves forward, away for your spine. This means your postural (spinal) muscles have to work harder to keep you upright. Over time this extra load on your muscles and spine, combined with a change in activity levels, can lead to upper back, low back, neck pain and joint stiffness. Pain associated with this type of injury is usually described as achy, burning or a tired feeling.
Neck pain and headaches
Changes to your posture and activity patterns may cause your muscles and joints to be stressed and tense during pregnancy. This can often cause headaches and neck pain.
Compression of the sciatic nerve can occur when your baby moves into an awkward position in utero. Symptoms include an ache or pain that radiates down the back/side of one leg and into the shin, calf or foot. Often these types of pain are not attributed to actual nerve compression but to referred pain from irritated muscles and joints in your back and hip region. Our practitioners are trained to identify the actual cause of your discomfort and help manage your recovery back to a pain free pregnancy.
Pelvic pain and instability
Pelvic pain and instability commonly presents in the second and third trimester as the size and weight of your baby increases. Your body begins to produce a hormone called Relaxin, which is made by the ovaries and placenta. Relaxin softens the ligaments holding your bones together, particularly in the pelvic region. This helps with the delivery process but can also cause instability in the pelvic region leading to pain and poor movement control. Weight gain, postural changes and previous incidences of pelvic instability can all contribute to your discomfort.
Common pelvic symptoms include;
- Pubic and groin pain
- Buttock, gluteal and thigh pain
- Low back pain
- Difficulty walking or weightbearing
- Hard to get in/out of a chair, car or bed
- A clicking sensation felt/heard in the pelvic region
As with most conditions, the earlier you seek help the better your prognosis is of managing your condition.
Muscle aches and cramping
Muscle often get tight, sore and achy due to overuse and increases in physical demands. As your baby grows and the physical demands on your body increase, your muscles may get sore. This typically occurs in the neck, back, hips, thighs and calves.
The higher demands on your body and your muscles can lead to a reduction in the nutrients and salts in your blood (magnesium and calcium). This can cause cramping and is more common in your second and third trimester.
Regular stretching, drinking plenty of water, using heat and gentle exercise can help reduce cramping. We often recommend a magnesium supplement as this can help reduce cramping. We also always strongly advise patients to check with their Obstetrician before taking any supplements.
Fluid retention and increasing abdominal size may cause you to experience numbness in some areas of your body. This is most often during the later stages of pregnancy as the body is now working very hard to support both you and your baby.
Extra fluid in your body may be responsible for compression of nerves, especially around your wrists. This can cause pregnancy related carpal tunnel syndrome and is characterised by numbness in the fingers/hand, especially at night.
Increasing the weight on your pelvis and and your growing abdomen can sometimes cause compression of a small nerve (lateral femoral cutaneous nerve) that tucks around the pointy bone at the front of your hips. This compression can cause numbness over a localised patch of skin on the side of your thigh. It may only be there is some positions like sitting or it may be constant.
Swelling is very common in pregnancy and is due to some water retention and increasing pressure on the veins in your legs and pelvic region. Most often it occurs in the third trimester and is found in the feet, ankles and calves. This can be a source of discomfort especially if you are on your feet for large periods of time. The use of massage, compression stockings, elevating your feet, and a healthy balanced diet can help manage your swelling.