Coping with an Achy Back and Legs
Backaches and leg aches can be very common later in pregnancy, as the baby begins to grow larger. By the second and third trimester, the weight of the baby on the pelvic bone can compress your sciatic nerve and result in pain along your back and legs. In addition to the weight of the baby and uterus, other causes of common aches include poor posture, hormonal changes (which can cause a loosening of the ligaments), and weak abdominal muscles. It is important to practice good posture with your pelvis tucked in and your shoulders back to relieve some of the pressure.
Ways to Relieve the Ache
Other tips that might help relieve the aches include the following:
Wear low-heeled, but not flat shoes that have a good supportive arch.
Do not lift heavy objects, such as children. If you have to lift something, bend at the knees, and keep your back straight. Use your legs to lift and not your back.
Sit in chairs with good back support, or put a small pillow behind the lower part of your back.
Try to sleep on your side with one or two pillows placed between your legs for support.
Apply heat or cold to painful areas, or have someone massage them.
Stay physically active to keep muscles toned and strong. Yoga stretches a few times a week may help relieve back pain, but make sure you learn how to correctly perform the stretches to avoid injury.
Sleep on a firm mattress.
Keep your weight under control with proper diet and exercise. Gain only the recommended amount of weight. Gaining too much weight will put even more stress on your legs and back.
If back and/or leg pain is very bothersome, speak to your doctor. A licensed physical therapist may be able to help you ease your pain through postural awareness and safe exercises.
Dreadful Varicose Veins
Some women may get painful varicose veins during pregnancy, particularly if this problem runs in the family. The increase in blood volume, along with changes in hormone levels, and the increasing size of the baby and uterus can all add to the likelihood of varicose veins. The veins in your legs help to transport blood back to the heart and lungs for reoxygenation. It is a tough job, though, because gravity pulls the blood downward instead of up toward the heart and lungs. The leg muscles try to fight this gravity by contracting. As the muscles contract, blood moves through the veins where valves confine and hold it. If these valves become overwhelmed, which they often do during the later months of pregnancy, blood collects and stretches the vein walls out of shape. The painful result is visually swollen varicose veins. Support pantyhose can help to ease some of the pain. Put your feet up whenever possible, and avoid standing for long periods of time. Take a brisk walk every day to keep increase circulation. If your varicose veins become intensely bothersome and painful, talk with your doctor about other types of treatment.