Are You Pregnant? Are You Experiencing Back Pain? You’re Not Alone!

What do pregnant women from Downtown DC to Georgetown, West End to Metro Center, and Dupont Circle to Foggy Bottom all have in common? Low back pain.

Low back pain, hip / buttock pain, and sciatic-type pain are some of the most frequent complaints of expecting mothers. Low back pain can begin in the middle of the first trimester and reoccur multiple times throughout the pregnancy. This pain can be accompanied by sciatic-like pain that radiates down the leg. This is caused by compression on the nerves that exit the spine. This compression also causes numbness and tingling of the legs and feet.

While low back pain may be unavoidable during pregnancy, here are a few tips for helping manage the discomfort at home.

Sleep Position

  • During pregnancy, the mother should avoid sleeping flat on her back as this can disrupt blood circulation to both mother and baby. As I have posted in a previous blog on sleeping position, (find the full post here) the best position to sleep in is on your side. This is further echoed by OB/GYNs who encourage their patients to sleep on their side. Use of a body pillow or pillow between your knees is recommended to keep you in a neutral spine position. While rolling in your sleep is normal, use of pillows may help reduce this and pain upon awakening.

Couch Position

  • It can be hard to get comfortable while trying to relax after a long day. Much like in bed, using pillows can help alleviate and manage low back pain. As a mother progresses into the second and third trimester the curve of her lumbar spine (low back) can increased due to the increase in size of her abdomen. Using a pillow directly above the waist line while reclining may take pressure off the low back allowing the mother to experience relief. Elevating the feet and legs to reduce swelling of the lower extremity is also beneficial.

Maintaining good work station ergonomics will also help reduce back pain. Proper work station ergonomics will be discussed in next week’s blog post.

During your pregnancy, always consult your OB/GYN or primary care provider before taking any medication for pain relief.

As always, please feel free to email me at with any questions or topics you would like to see discussed in this space, give me a call at 202-733-5604, or schedule an appointment to come meet with me in person and discuss a personalized treatment plan.

Talk to you soon.
Dr. Rosenberg

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