Pregnant With Low Back Pain & a Lot of Tightening of the Stomach

As your body prepares to host another life for a few months, several changes take place. A rapid increase in hormones prepares your womb and body for many of the demands required to support another human being. Also, your center of gravity will change as your weight increases, possibly causing problems with joints, tendons, circulation and digestion. Two common concerns during pregnancy are lower-back pain and tightening of the stomach, but are most likely not cause for worry. Discuss your particular concerns with your doctor during your regular prenatal visits.

As your body changes, low-back pain and stomach tightening are common complaints during pregnancy. (Image: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Lower-back Pain

Weight gain, a growing uterus and changing hormones all contribute to lower back pain. Your uterus expands and shifts during pregnancy, which shifts your center of gravity, stretching your abdomen and pulling on your lower back. Extra weight adds to the discomfort, as do hormonal changes that loosen joints and ligaments. Up to three-fourths of pregnant women experience lower-back pain, but this usually resolves within a few months after delivery, according to the medical advisory team at BabyCenter.

Tightness of Stomach

In addition to the tight feeling you may feel as you gain weight rapidly and your skin stretches to accommodate, you may also experience Braxton-Hicks contractions, or "false labor." Some women describe these pains as a tight feeling across the abdomen or a squeezing in the groin. Braxton-Hicks contractions differ from true labor pains because they come without regularity. These contractions help your body prepare for labor by thinning and softening your cervix, making delivery easier.

Prevention and Treatment

Reduce frequency and severity of back pain by doing exercises approved by your doctor that strengthen your back and abdomen. Also, using your legs to squat when you pick something up rather than bending, wearing sensible shoes, sleeping on your side, resting with your feet elevated and seeking chiropractic treatments may also help you avoid problems with your back. Ice and heat are good options for treating back pain, in addition to massage therapy or anti-inflammatory medicines approved by your doctor. Braxton-Hicks pains are more common when you are overly tired, so get plenty of sleep and rest throughout your day.

When to Go

True contractions come in regular intervals for consistent amounts of time. Have someone time the length of your contractions and the time between them to be able to provide this information to the hospital staff. You may also have a feeling that the baby has settled lower into your abdomen, increased vaginal discharge that is clear or slightly bloody, and your water may break. Contact your health-care provider when contractions are growing closer together and stronger, when your contractions are five to 10 minutes apart, your water breaks, you can no longer walk or talk, or at any point you are concerned about your health or the well-being of your baby.

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