Lower Back Pain in Early Pregnancy

low back pain

Is Lower Back Pain in Early Pregnancy Normal?

Lower back pain in early pregnancy is normal unless the pain is associated with an underlying infection of the bladder and kidney. The pain in lower back is usually experienced on the 8th or 12th week of pregnancy. (Refer : Pregnancy symptoms week by week)

Lower back pain in early pregnancy is due to the effects of the hormone progesterone. The ligaments and discs in the back that supports the upper body are softening as a result of progesterone.

low back pain

Lower Back Pain in Early Pregnancy Causes

Signs and symptoms of pregnancy may be a discomfort to pregnant women. Morning sickness, breast tenderness and muscle cramps are some of the symptoms in early pregnancies causing discomfort to to-be-moms. Lower back pain is another discomfort that can be experienced and the cause of lower back pain may include:

  1. Changes in hormone progesterone affecting the ligaments and disc supporting the back of the upper body by softening it.
  2. Kidney and bladder infection may also cause back pain as a symptom of the infection. Urinary tract infection is common to pregnant women which causes the lower back pain.
  3. Poor posture contributes to a pain in the lower back. Posture is vital to pregnancy as it will be the center of the gravity while pregnancy is progressing.
  4. Lack of sleep and rest also account for a lower back pain. It is important that enough rest and sleep must be considered to relax the body that is suffering from hormonal changes brought by pregnancy.
  5. Improper use of body mechanics especially on lifting and bending is another factor contributing to lower back pain.
  6. Pregnancy slows down food digestion in order to absorb as much nutrient needed for the developing fetus. The result is weight gain that contributes to lower back pain in pregnancy.
  7. Prolonged standing position will bring pressure down the sciatic nerve as gravity is brought in the center from the additional weight of the growing baby.
  8. Prolonged postures such as sitting and repetitive lifting can also add to the cause of pain in the lower back.

There are other activities that may exacerbate lower back pain and these may include:

  • Running
  • Rolling in bed
  • Twisting
  • Prolonged walking
  • Bending forward in repetitive movement
  • Climbing stairs
  • Sudden standing from sitting position
  • Lifting heavy weights

Lower Back Pain in Early Pregnancy

Lower back pain in early pregnancy is defined as ligament spasm characterized as burning pain of the left or right and lower quadrant or a sensation of stretching ligaments. Almost all pregnant women experience this kind of pain. The pain often occurs on the 8th to 12th week of pregnancy from the time of conception and usually subsides on about 20th week of gestation period.

The cause of lower back pain in early pregnancy is due to uterosacral ligaments stretch that supports the uterus. The baby’s weight adds to bio-mechanical stress that results to lower back pain. Stomach of expectant mothers is being pushed to a position it does not previously have due to the growing baby inside. The lower back is pushed forward by the growing baby making the upper back thrown backward to compensate for the lower back.

Lower back pain is one of the two types of back pain that can be experienced in pregnancy. Lower back pain is the same as the lumbar pain that is located at the waist and above the waist in the center of the back. The pain experienced may or may not be simultaneous with radiating pain in legs or foot.

Pain in the lower back during early pregnancy or even the entire pregnancy is similar to lumbar pain experienced by non-pregnant woman.

What to Do?

Prescribing medical drugs to pregnant patients needs precautionary measures. Medication in any form might have adverse effect on the developing fetus.

To alleviate lower back pain in early pregnancy, expectant mothers are advised to do the following:

  1. Consult a health professional if there is suspicion of urinary tract infection that is causing lower back pain. Health professionals are the best channel in addressing lower back pain that may or may not be due to kidney and bladder infection or even any other form that may cause lower back pain.
  2. Practicing proper body mechanics in lifting, standing and sitting helps to prevent if not alleviate lower back pain.
  3. Taking warm bath may help ease pain as it helps relaxing the muscle.
  4. Proper hygiene is best practiced to avoid any form of infection especially urinary tract infection which is prone to pregnant women.
  5. Avoid prolonged standing or sitting or any repetitive movement.
  6. Daily exercise can help prevent lower back pain but it is better to seek medical consultation first to know which form of exercise better suit pregnant woman.
  7. Adequate rest is very advisable to pregnant women.
  8. Healthy diet should be considered.
  9. Avoid intercourse during the first trimester of pregnancy.
  10. Avoid lifting heavy objects and climbing stairs or any form of high rise.


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