Back pain and pregnancy

Does pregnancy cause back pain? Actually, it does – although it’s not the pregnancy per se that’s the cause, rather it’s the biomechanical changes which take place in the body as a result. Chiropractic can be highly beneficial for those shortly expecting a baby, and while specialist approaches are recommended, it’s perfectly safe!



A woman’s body undergoes many transformations during and after months of pregnancy.  Some of these changes are easily recognized, such as an expanding abdomen and episodes of morning sickness, or perhaps unusual (and sometimes hilarious) cravings – others less well known however.

One key change is that throughout a woman’s pregnancy, the hormone relaxin is produced to help loosen the joints and ligaments of the pelvis in order to prepare the body for delivery. And while relaxin relaxes (hence the name) the ligaments in and around the pelvis, it also does the same to other joints and ligaments all over the body.

This is one reason expecting mothers tend to develop back pain or sciatica symptoms (pain that starts in the back and then travels down the leg and into the foot). And all the while a baby continues to develop and grow, and that beautiful baby is pulling the pregnant woman’s center of gravity forward.

In practice, this means that at any point during and after a pregnancy, that woman’s biomechanics, balance, and posture are in a constant state of flux, and these changes can place a lot of stress on the supporting structures and muscles in the low back.  What’s more these changes take place relatively slowly usually without an obvious point on time which can be remembered as “when the back pain started”.


That damn back pain…

Did you know it’s been estimated that over 85% of women experience back pain during pregnancy? As we just mentioned, as an expecting mother enters her second and third trimesters, their baby is growing substantially, and literally pulling their center of gravity forward – this causes an increase in lower back curvature and pressure, so, for once the number should be no surprise!

The good news is that since the biomechanical changes which lead to this pain are understood, there is a lot you can do to combat it. Chiropractic care can be highly beneficial in terms of reducing lower back pain by addressing spinal issues which arise as a result of pregnancy, and what’s more is that in addition to gentle and non-invasive adjustments, chiropractors have the know-how to provide personalised pregnancy stage and condition specific exercise and stretching recommendations to help mothers successfully manage their pain. Chiropractors take a long term approach to treatment which fits very well with the process of pregnancy, birth and indeed, a return to normal fitness.

Chiropractic isn’t the only option however – It’s estimated that 92% of women are advised by their doctor to exercise while pregnant, and staying active is almost always an effective way to reduce pain and stiffness, this of course costs nothing! At the same time, small changes like choosing the right pillows and finding the best stretches can dramatically reduce neck and mid-back pain during pregnancy.


Get help with pregnancy related back pain

At Complete Chiropractic were thrilled to offer all kinds of back pain solutions for those who are pregnant, weather you’re expecting shortly or planning for the long term. Just give us a call!

Blog by / September 30, 2022 / Blog

Dr. Paul Irvine is a doctor of chiropractic who graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of NSW and in 1996, attained his Master of Chiropractic degree from Macquarie University in Australia. He practised in North Sydney for 5 years before he left Australia to travel and practise in the UK. He joined Complete Chiropractic in 2003 (est 1999) and took over the clinic in 2007