Back pain while pregnant is fairly common, and usually nothing to worry about. Here are the facts.
Triggered by hormonal shifts, backache in early pregnancy can be uncomfortable, but is generally a good sign that things are moving along.
GP Dr Philippa Kaye explains the biology: “Firstly, the follicle which produced the egg when you ovulated now forms the corpus luteum, which can become a cyst. It is involved in producing hormones and supporting the embryo as it implants and in the early stages before the placenta takes over.”
“A corpus luteum cyst can cause pain in the pelvis or in the lower back. Generally, no action is needed and it goes away as the placenta takes over.”
“Also, hormones work to loosen joints and ligaments—in order to make the body more limber for labour—and this can intensify back discomfort.” (Dr Kaye notes that stress doesn’t help, either.)
As far as backache indicating an impending miscarriage, Dr Kaye sets the record straight on what symptoms to look out for:
“[Not] all bleeding or cramping means miscarriage, and sometimes miscarriages cause no symptoms at all and are not picked up until later. So it seems more sensible to say if you are bleeding see a doctor and if it is:
- severe bleeding
- you are feeling dizzy or unwell
- if your pain is severe
– then seek urgent medical help (I would be concerned that it might be an ectopic pregnancy at that point).”
And finally, do you need to suffer through the standard pregnancy back pain—is there any relief? Dr Kaye advises paracetamol (not ibuprofen), and consulting with your doctor immediately should you experience severe pain, or anything out of the ordinary.