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Back Pain During Pregnancy: Simple Tips and Sleeping Positions That Can Help


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Around 50% (or more) of women struggle with back pain throughout their pregnancy, especially in the lower-back region. Not only is it an uncomfortable situation, but experiences like these also debilitate the actual joy that pregnancy brings. Moreover, the mothers are already going though so many hormonal changes and their body is changing too, back pain adds to the stress of the mothers. 

As your bump grows with the developing fetus inside, the risks of pregnancy-related back pain increase too. The growing body weight and the pressure are also reasons why you are likely experiencing discomfort and back pain so frequently.

This article will explore more about why and how of lower back pain during pregnancy and what you can do to combat the issue.

When does the Back Pain Start during Pregnancy?

Experiencing back pain, especially lower back pain during pregnancy is a second and third-trimester issue, as the baby develops and the mother gains weight during the period.

Even studies indicate that the peak of back pain occurs between the fifth and seventh months of pregnancy. However, when discussing when does back pain in pregnancy start, the same can initiate as early as 8-12 weeks of pregnancy too.

Most pregnant women experience the dissipating or sharp pain around the pelvic region anteriorly. Some also experience jabbing pain around the juncture of the pelvis and the sacroiliac joint.

Irrespective of when the pain starts, being aware of the causes and tips can help manage the pain quite proficiently.

What causes Back Pain during Pregnancy?

There are several contributing factors for the back pain during pregnancy, including:

  • Weight gain
  • Hormonal changes
  • Poor posture
  • Stress
  • Calcium and Vitamin D deficiency

If your pain doesn’t get better and gets worse with every passing day, chances are that your OBGYN can help you navigate through this discomfort with some home remedies and additional medical interventions.

How to Relieve Back Pain during Pregnancy?

As we mentioned, several factors, including weight gain and hormonal imbalance contribute to the back pain that you experience during your pregnancy.

Is it uncomfortable and frustrating? 100%.

Can it be managed with natural remedies, a change in sleeping position, etc.? Yes.

Let us walk you through the top tips to relieve back pain in pregnancy in third trimester.

1. Practice Good Posture

As you progress through your pregnancy, your bump is likely growing in size, thereby changing your centre of gravity. As the pressure increases in the abdominal region with the growing bump, you will have an affinity to slightly bend backwards to compensate for the slight imbalance in the posture.

This strain on the back leads to the stiffness and back pain that most pregnant women complain about.

Some of the best ways in which you can keep your posture in check during pregnancy are by:

  • Not constricting the muscles around the shoulders
  • Keep your posture straight and erect
  • Avoid locking your knees
  • Keep your chest tight and high

If you don’t feel comfortable standing up straight with your legs joined or close together, keep them apart. This will redistribute the pressure and relieve some of the strain from your lower back muscles.

2. Go for a Walk

Stiffness around the lower back (and even upper back) during pregnancy is due to the lack of movement. If you are being lazy and not walking around enough, it makes the muscles immobile, thereby leading to complications of stiffness and discomfort in the lower back region.

Going for a walk or indulging in lightweight exercise improves the flexibility and strength of the muscles in the body.

If you don’t want to engage in a rigorous exercise routine, the safer exercise alternatives include walking, swimming and some low-impact exercises like yoga. If required, you can also discuss your options with your OBGYN or physical therapist for better safety.

3. Sleeping Positions Matter

Now that you know what causes back pain during pregnancy, you are aware that your sleeping position plays a crucial role in the strain and discomfort you are feeling.

The best way to overcome that issue is by sleeping on your side instead of your back. Since the muscles are already stiff and tensed due to the pressure from the protruding bump, the last thing you want is to aggravate the situation by sleeping on the back.

What you can do is sleep on your left or right side, bending the knees to relieve some of that pressure from the back. For extra comfort, you can also prop up your legs and hip using some pregnancy pillows. This is one of the best ways how to relieve back pain during pregnancy while sleeping.

4. Try Hot and Cold Compress

Another effective measure that you can implement to relieve the pressure and discomfort from your back is by applying hot and cold compresses.

However, there are some risks associated with hot compress during pregnancy, which is why we’d recommend discussing your options with your OBGYN.

Ice compress is fairly safe and easily accessible too. All you have to do is wrap your ice compress in some towel and apply it to the areas that are aching around the back and lower-back region. Repeat this 2-3 times daily and you should see a difference in the intensity of pain immediately.

5. Try Stretching

The last method that can relieve the pain in your back is by indulging in some light stretching. It can be in the form of yoga or even just plain stretching that you do standing in one position.

Light stretching is safe for the developing fetus, so there shouldn’t be any complications. However, ensure that you avoid stretching exercises that involve leaning forward. In case you lose your balance, it might end up hurting the baby in case you fall face down on the ground.

You can also indulge in some stretching involving pregnancy gym balls, which are comfortable and relieve the pain after a few hours of training.


  • Is back pain in pregnancy common?

Back pain during pregnancy is one of the most common symptoms that most women experience. It is due to the gradual stretching and softening of the ligaments in the body and nothing that you’d have to worry about. However, if it continues  and aggravates beyond bearable limit, we suggest you consult your OBGYN.

  • What week of pregnancy does your back hurt?

The back pain typically starts during the second trimester and is at its peak during the fifth and seventh months of pregnancy.

  • Where does back pain occur in pregnancy?

Most pregnant women experience back pain in the posterior pelvic region or in the lower back region, especially around the lower lumber area.


Back pain during pregnancy is no doubt a common occurrence. However, it isn’t a symptom you should leave on the curbside. If the pain doesn’t get better, try out the different tips we have shared in this article. If the pain persists even after that, discuss the symptoms with your OBGYN to understand why it is happening and what you can do to relieve the strain and discomfort on the body.

Srujana Mohanty
She is the Managing Editor of Cogito137, one of India’s leading student-run science communication magazines. She's been working in scientific and medical writing and editing since 2018, also associated with the quality assurance team of scientific journal editing. Majored in Chemistry with a minor in Biology at IISER Kolkata, Srujana loves doodling and watching series.


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