Manage lower back pain naturally

A common problem that many women experience during pregnancy is back pain. This is most likely the result of your uterus expanding to accommodate the slow and steady growth of your little one, as well as hormonal changes and weight gain.

In your second and third trimesters, your growing womb is shifting your center of gravity forward and weakening your abdominal muscles. This, in turn, places a great deal of strain on your back, especially with the excess weight you're carrying, and it's not uncommon for the uterus to press up against a nerve and cause pain.

If this is something you've been experiencing, you're one of many. In fact, there are two common types of lower back pain. The first is called lumbar pain, which occurs where the lumbar vertebrae are in your lower back. This is most frequently around the waist and may radiate down your legs.

The second kind of back pain is posterior pelvic pain, which expecting moms may feel in the back of their pelvis. It's often felt deep inside the buttocks and in one or both of the thighs.

If you experience either one of these types of back pain, your healthcare provider can help you come up with ways to ease any discomfort as you come to full term.

Exercising and stretching may help
Believe it or not, one way to relieve discomfort is to move the affected muscles - even if it's the last thing you feel like doing. One position that may be beneficial is a full back stretch. To perform it, you can stand with your feet hip-width apart while relaxing your knees. Then, while holding onto something stable, bend your knees and round your back while keeping your chin tucked into your chest. You should be able to feel the stretch work the muscles along your spine. You can hold this as long as you want, and repeat as needed.

This stretch is great because it can be done throughout pregnancy, unlike those that require you to lie on your back, which are only recommended during the first trimester.

Good old hot and cold compresses
Like with many muscle injuries or soreness, applying heat or a cold compress may help alleviate some of your lower back pain. Once you receive the okay from your doctor, you or your partner can place a bag of ice or frozen veggies wrapped in a thin cloth on the affected area for a maximum of 20 minutes. You can repeat this process a few times per day for two to three days, according to WebMD, then you should switch to using a heating pad or hot water bottle.

Some other methods include alternative medicine techniques, such as acupuncture, chiropractic services and massage. However, if you're interested in these, make sure your healthcare provider says it's okay first.

Did you experience back pain during pregnancy? What worked to alleviate it? Leave your answers in the comments section!