Half of all pregnant women complain of pain in their lower back and pelvis. This “lumbar and pelvic” pain is related to the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy. They are not serious but can make everyday activities and rest uncomfortable or difficult.
The exact mechanisms of pain affecting the pelvis, hips, pubic bone and lower back during pregnancy have yet to be fully elucidated. However we know that various factors related to pregnancy play a role:
- Weight gain;
- Forward shift in the centre of gravity;
- Production of hormones designed to loosen the tendons and ligaments of the pelvis in preparation for the birth;
- Weakening of abdominal muscles.
Discomfort that may persist
Varying in severity depending on the women, the pain may be worse when standing, on exertion, while walking or when twisting the body. It may impede everyday activities or disturb sleep. The pain usually disappears in the months following delivery but it becomes persistent in 7% of cases.
To alleviate this pain, rest and the use of paracetamol (numerous painkillers and anti-inflammatories are contraindicated in pregnant women) are the only treatments suggested. Wearing an elastic lumbar or abdominal support belt for a few days per week and a few hours per day can help reduce pain in the back and pelvis, particularly while walking or standing, and improve the capacity to carry out everyday activities.1.
Exercises in the swimming pool, control of weight gain or acupuncture can also help some women, in the absence of contraindications.