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  • Writer's pictureKaye Cheong

Pregnancy lower back and hip pain by Physio Zakieah Zakaria

Pregnancy-related lower back pain (LBP) has got to be one of the most common complaint reported by our pregnant patients.

Most studies estimate that 50% of pregnant women suffer from LBP throughout their pregnancy.

There are 2 types of pregnancy back pain:

1. Lumbar or Lower back pain

2. Posterior Pelvic pain

Lumbar back pain (LBP)

-generally located at and/ or above the waist in the center of the back

-pain worsened with prolonged fixed posture (such as sitting and standing) and repetitive lifting.

Posterior Pelvic Pain (Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction)

- deep pain felt below and/or sides of waistline

- pain on either side or across the tailbone

- pain not resolved with rest, and with or without morning stiffness

- pain worsened by the following activities:

* rolling in bed

* climbing stairs

* sitting and rising from seated position

* lifting, twisting, bending forward

* running and walking

What can cause back pain in early pregnancy?

Hormonal changes

Our relaxin hormone level is the highest during first trimester to promote implantation of fetus into the uterine wall and encourage the growth of placenta. The increased level of relaxin also help prevent premature childbirth.

Unfortunately, relaxin that promotes ligaments and joints in the pelvic area to relax can cause ligaments that support the spine to loosen, leading to instability and pain. This is usually more pronounced when pregnant moms are either too sedentary or too active.

Morning sickness

Morning sickness that is most pronounced during the first trimester may stop you from exercising or keeping proper nutritious food down. This not only affects muscle and joint activity, it also affects proper blood circulation which in turn causes delay in body healing and lingering pain.

What can cause back pain in late pregnancy:

Weight gain

An average weight woman is expected to put on 10-15kg throughout pregnancy. The increase in weight not only puts pressure to the spine and hips but also shifts the center of gravity of expecting mothers, affecting how they walk, sit, stand and rest.


Emotional stress can cause muscle tension in the back, which may be felt as back pain or back spasms. You may find that you experience an increase in back pain during stressful periods of your pregnancy especially if it is your first time and you don't know what to expect. Managing stress levels is crucial in relieving back pain.


The relaxin hormones relax the valve between stomach and esophagus which allow stomach acid to reflux into the esophagus, leading to heartburn. Heartburn can refer pain to your ribs and to your back, causing discomfort when you sit or lie down.

If you are expecting and are experiencing lower back pain, why not give Chiropractic and Physiotherapy a go?

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