While lower back pain is by far the most common for pregnant women, other areas of the back may experience it as well. Upper back pain during pregnancy normally occurs during the third trimester, at which point the body has undergone the most extreme changes it can in preparation for childbirth. Fortunately, there are things you can do to ease upper back pain, and make the last weeks of your pregnancy as easy and pleasant as possible. After all, you want to be able to focus all of your energy on the baby that is nearly here, and don’t want to be distracted with unnecessary pain.
Upper back pain during pregnancy occurs late in the pregnancy because as the uterus expands to its maximum size, it places pressure on your ribs, especially on the right side. Your uterus will stretch up as well as outward, so you may find it harder to breathe as pressure is put on your diaphragm. You may find you have pain in your shoulders, because pressure is being put on nerves in the diaphragm which go up into the shoulders. These pains can be quite sharp, and may sometimes be accompanied by heartburn because of pressure being put on the stomach.
Many women’s breasts also enlarge substantially during pregnancy, and the extra weight can pull your shoulders down, creating strain on your neck, the top of your back and ribs. In addition, your body will be undergoing some major hormonal changes as the body prepares for delivery, so muscles and ligaments are relaxed and loosened. Your ribcage will expand as part of this process, so your lungs can take in extra air. Even though you may sometimes find it hard to breathe, you are actually taking in about 40 percent more oxygen than you did before your pregnancy. This is all meant to prepare you for the rigors of childbirth.
One thing you can do to ease upper level back pain is to buy a more supportive bra. Look for a good nursing bra without underwires. The better your breasts are supported, the less likely they are to cause strain on your neck and upper back. Try to wear comfortable loose clothing so you can breathe and move freely.
When experiencing back pain during pregnancy, you can alleviate some of it by practicing some stretches. Start by holding your arms over your head to take pressure up and away from your ribs. Do chest stretches in the doorway. These are especially good for your shoulders by rotating them up and back, and lifting the ribs away from the uterus.
You can also ease upper back pain by practicing prenatal yoga, and generally focusing on stretches that pull your ribs away from the uterus. A visit to a massage therapist or chiropractor might also be beneficial.
Upper back pain during pregnancy is a reality for many women, but if you practice good posture and the correct stretches, you should feel much better. If you ease upper back pain, your last weeks of pregnancy should go very smoothly.
You can find helpful information about upper back pain during pregnancy and everything you need to know about ease upper back pain at Aha! Baby.
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