Aches and pains

Having suffered with back pain for about a year since I slipped a disc, I was worried that pregnancy may cause me increased problems. Sure enough it has!

Woman holding her back in discomfort.

Pregnancy insider blog

I've had increased pain in my hips, buttocks and lower back which is particularly bad after spending time in static positions. I mentioned it to the midwife at my 16 week appointment who gave me a handout about common pregnancy related back pain. It included things like standing and sitting posture, sleeping position, how to get in and out of bed, bending and lifting. These are all things I'm really mindful and cautious about already as I try really hard to look after my back. The suggested exercises are all things I do already as part of my yoga and pilates classes and just as general stretches, so I felt a bit defeated as to what I could do next.

I think I tried to ignore it for a while, hoping it would get better – wishful thinking!

A colleague at work who is 3 months ahead of me in her pregnancy has really suffered with back and pelvic pain and she told me that I could self refer to the physiotherapy service and that the number was on the back of my maternity notes – winner! I just wish my midwife had told me this a few weeks back.

Being able to self refer yourself is great as it means you get seen super quickly. Have I found a perk to being pregnant?! I left a message on an answer phone, was called two days later at 10am and asked if I could come in at 11:30 – whilst that is what you may call service, when you're at work with a packed schedule I couldn't just drop everything and go! They offered me an early morning appointment on the Friday instead which was much more convenient and still only three days away.

The physio was lovely and specialised in women’s health meaning she was well used to treating pregnant ladies.

She was really careful to go through my past history and did a really thorough examination of all my movements and joints. The good news was that she thought the pain I was experiencing was more pregnancy related than to do with a flare up of my disc problem. I was really relieved by this as it caused me so many complications last year, I really wasn't sure I could cope with that again on top of being pregnant.

She gave me some exercises to do to keep my back supple and also to strengthen my glutes which are really weak as a result of my disc injury.

She also suggested I get up at work every 15 minutes (easier said than done!) and do some pelvic tilts – which cause everyone in the office great amusement!

As I walk to work everyday (35 mins each way) she gave me a belt to wear to support my lower back and also give support to my growing bump. Whilst it does feel supportive, by the end of 35 mins it feels uncomfortable. I've been using it on and off over the last week or so and can't make up my mind whether it's worth using or not so I might seek further advice on that. I really want to keep walking for as long as possible but the physio did say that walking may aggravate my symptoms. At the same time they encourage you to carry on being active for as long as possible so I suppose it's a case of weighing up the pros and cons as time goes on and seeing if that leads me to taking the bus eventually!

Lower back and 'pelvic girdle pain' affect over 50% of women in pregnancy apparently, so it is pretty common. Yet another fun thing for us pregnant ladies to have to contend with! It'll all be worth it in the end – I'm sure!

Read the next instalment of the Pregnancy Insider

The pregnancy insider profile

Follow our Pregnancy Insider, the blogger who tells it like it is, by liking our Tommy's Midwives Facebook page. Our Pregnancy Insider is 29, lives in East Anglia, practices yoga and is a big fan of House of Cards - and she's pregnant with her first baby. Look out for her blog each week. 

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    Please note that these comments are monitored but not answered by Tommy’s. Please call your GP or maternity unit if you have concerns about your health or your baby’s health.
    • By Hilary (not verified) on 22 Mar 2020 - 16:43

      I have period like pains in lower tummy I am 32 weeks pregnant they are coming and going should I be worried

    • By Tracy (not verified) on 30 Dec 2019 - 04:38

      I think i may be a few weeks pregnant. When i sleep wake and move i have cramps in my belly. However when i change position n rub it it takes time and fade away. What could this mean?

    • By Thanuja (not verified) on 19 Nov 2019 - 01:46

      Now I am 39 weeks. I have a right lower stomach pain with clots of bleeding

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 19 Nov 2019 - 17:00

      Hi Thanuja- you need to go into be seen at your nearest maternity unit urgently. This is abnormal. Get yourself in urgently today if you have not already done so since sending this message. Please don't forget your pregnancy notes either! Tommy's Midwife

    • By Mandy (not verified) on 16 Sep 2019 - 14:17

      I know my ligaments and tensions are still stretching at 19 weeks though since yesterday evening I have had discomfort in my lower belly almost to the sides. I figure it is constipation but I don't have the urge to go to the bathroom. I just want to make sure this isn't something to be concerned about

    • By ziyanda (not verified) on 10 Jul 2018 - 11:06

      Iwant to see am not pregnent but i don wanna go to the clinic

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Jul 2018 - 13:17

      Hi Ziyanda,
      You do not need to go to clinic to see if you are pregnant, you can take a pregnancy test at home to see if you are pregnant. If this is positive then you can refer yourself for maternity care.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Mrs Walker (not verified) on 1 Jun 2018 - 20:57

      Just happened this evening and has been consistently uncomfortable/sore for more than an hour. It's slowing me down and making sitting and rising and sneezing/coughing very difficult. Any advice?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 4 Jun 2018 - 14:55

      Hi. I hope that the pain has resolved by now. If it hasn't you should see speak to your midwife.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Nov 2017 - 10:27

      Hi there, please call us or email us if you wish to discuss your pain so that we can advise you on if this is normal or not.
      Please take care

      Sophie- Tommy's Midwife

    • By Ij (not verified) on 17 Feb 2018 - 09:12

      I have this pain in the upper left side of my belly and some times, I can't move. I am 29weeks pregnant. Any Idea please?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 19 Feb 2018 - 14:26

      Hi I hope that you are feeling better this morning, We are not here at the weekends to answer your queries but remember that your midwife service is available 24 hours a day. Pain in the upper left side of your belly could be several different things. I suggest that if it is still there you make an arrangement to see your GP or midwife who will be able to examine you. Best wishes

    • By Nompilo (not verified) on 12 Feb 2020 - 23:55

      Hy! Got lower right pain on my stomach been 3 days now but doesnt happen everyday when i rub it goes away m worried now

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