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5 Ways To Relieve Back Pain During Pregnancy

5 Ways To Relieve Back Pain During Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be an exciting time for both expectant mothers and their families as they prepare to bring a new life into the world. However, pregnancy often brings unexpected complications that can cause quite a bit of discomfort for the mother to be. One of the biggest complaints is back pain and spasms.

Back Pain Causes

There are a few different reasons why women experience back pain during pregnancy. The common reason is actually quite simple – weight gain. During pregnancy, women can potentially experience dramatic weight gain.

In reality, it’s hard not to gain weight. You are growing a new human, after all. This new weight gain is centered around the abdominal region shifting your center of gravity and causing an adjustment in your normal posture. This will put greater pressure on your back often resulting in pain.

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Sometimes, however, the back pain might be more serious. Pain in the back could be the result of uterine contractions and could be a sign of early labor. Like a heart attack, which shows itself through pain down the left arm, early labor symptoms can cause referred pain in the back. If your pain comes and goes, it could be a sign of early labor and you should see a physician as soon as possible.

If you are like many women who are pregnant, you have had to deal with back pain as part of the pregnancy process. There are many different ways you can relieve your back pain that is safe for both you and your baby. Here are 5 ways to relieve normal back pain during pregnancy. As some back pain can be a sign of a serious condition for both you and your baby, please ensure that you inform your healthcare provider about your back pain before implementing these methods.

1. Exercise

One of the best ways you can stop back pain is through exercise. Strengthening your muscles in your back and improving your overall physical fitness can help you carry the extra weight of that baby much more easily and comfortably, helping you avoid back pain altogether.

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Some of the best exercises for pregnant women are walking, swimming and riding a stationary bike. Talk with your doctor or physical therapist about what exercises are safest for you and your baby before you begin any exercise routine or program.

2. Massage Therapy

There is nothing like a good massage to relax your muscles and relieve the tension in your body. A good massage can help you relax tensed muscles that are beginning to get sore and can even help you relieve stress so at the end of the day you feel less stress. Once your tensed muscles are relaxed and you are less stressed, you will begin to feel less pain in your back.

3. Hot and Cold

Placing hot and cold compresses are an easy way to provide a little relief to your aching back. Assuming your health care provider approves, begin by placing a cold compress on the painful area of your back for 20 minutes each day for two to three days.

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After that, switch to a hot compress to the same area and continue to alternate. When applying heat, be sure to avoid applying it to your abdomen while you are pregnant.

4. Improve Your Posture

When you are pregnant, you face extra pressure on your spine and are forced to carry around extra weight. In many instances, this causes slouching putting even more pressure on your spine. While you are working or sitting, try placing a towel in the small of your back and make a conscious effort to sit up straight at all times. This will help you maintain good posture and relieve the added pressure on your spine resulting in less pain after a long day.

5. See Your Doctor

If all else fails, or if your pain is severe, you should consider paying a visit to your doctor. Your doctor will be able to look at both your health and the health of your baby to determine if something more serious is happening and will then be able to prescribe a better treatment that can help you with your pain while also ensuring your unborn child remains safe.

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More Tips to Help Prevent Back Pain

In addition to steps above, you should also actively try to prevent your back pain from happening. With just a few changes in your lifestyle, you can stop many of the causes of back pain before they happen.

If you need to pick up something from the ground, do not bend over. Instead, bend your legs into the squat position to grab whatever you dropped. While you may like the way high heels look on your feet, while you are pregnant consider switching to flats instead to relieve the pressure that high heels place on your back.

When you go to bed, avoid sleeping on your back. Many doctors advise against sleeping on your back anyway due to some dangers it places on both you and your child, so instead try sleeping on your side to relieve the pressure on your back.

Pregnancy is truly a beautiful miracle of life and should be embraced. However, back pain from pregnancy can put a damper on how you feel and prevent you from enjoying what is supposed to be a truly special time in your life.

If you are dealing with back pain while you are pregnant, try using these solutions to help relieve the pain so you can enjoy this magical time and embrace it the way it was meant to be. If your pain continues, talk with your doctor and see how they can help you relieve the pain so you can get back to preparing to be a mother.

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Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

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Last Updated on October 5, 2020

Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss (The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack)

Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss (The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack)

Intermittent fasting weight loss is a type of diet that’s rapidly growing in popularity and becoming the way to lose weight. Scientists and nutrition experts like it, too. New books and articles on the topic are being published daily. Intermittent fasting is also popular with followers of the Paleo diet since our ancestors appear to have eaten this way for thousands of years.

I’ve been following this type of diet myself for 2 years. Doing so helped me lose and keep off 70 pounds without ever having to count calories, limit carbohydrates, or eat 6 to 7 meals a day.

This article teaches you all about intermittent fasting weight loss and details why it is one of the best weight loss diet hacks around. Once you finish, you will be able to implement into your diet and experience the benefits it offers almost immediately.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

As you may have figured from its name, intermittent fasting weight loss is a diet plan where you set fasting periods during the day. This is usually between 16-20 consecutive hours, but it can be as little as 12 hours or as much as 24 hours (or even 36 hours).

While fasting you can eat and drink low calorie or calorie-free foods. Think coffee, tea, water, and vegetables.

The more time you spend fasting every day, the better your results. You can do these fasts as often as you like. Again, the more often you do so, the better[1].

Getting Started With Intermittent Fasting

Following this diet plan is super simple. All you have to do is choose a period of time during the day that you will fast. This should be between 16-20 hours.

The longer you fast each day, the better. Don’t worry about calorie restriction or measuring carbohydrates. Just focus on going about your day until it’s time to eat.

It’s best to choose a set period of time to conduct your fast. I like to fast from 8 PM to 4 PM the following afternoon. I’ll then have my first meal of the day and a snack or two a few hours later. Once 8 o’clock rolls around, it’s back to fasting.

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My experience with intermittent fasting is that it’s best to start with a 16 hour fast (i.e. 8PM one evening to 12PM the next day) for the first 1-2 weeks. Once you are comfortable with this schedule, you can increase the amount of time you spend fasting. Do this by adding 30 minutes to each fast until you get to where you are fasting for 20 hours at a time.

You don’t have to fast every day in the beginning either. You may be more comfortable breaking in slowly with 2 or 3 days per week, or trying alternate day fasting. Add additional days of intermittent fasting as you become more comfortable with this style of eating.

Tips To Make Intermittent Fasting Easier

1. Drink Plenty of Water

Squeeze a little lemon or lime juice into your water to help get rid of any cravings you experience. You can also drink coffee, tea, or other calorie-free beverages. After a few weeks, you will find that intermittent fasting keeps you from craving sugar entirely.

2. Take in Caffeine in the Morning and Early Afternoon

The caffeine in coffee and tea may actually make intermittent fasting weight loss a little easier since it’s good for curbing your appetite. Be careful not to overindulge as this may lead to you feeling a little too wired. I also recommend these natural energy boosting tips to keep you going during the day.

3. Avoid Artificially Flavored Drinks

One type of calorie-free drink that should be avoided are diet sodas and other beverages that use artificial sweeteners like Splenda and Sweet & Low. Studies show that the can actually stimulate your appetite[2] like a drink that contains sugar and cause you to overeat.

4. Don’t Gorge at Your First Meal

The first meal after your fast should be the amount of food you typically eat. Binging will only make you feel awful and diminish the benefits you get from the fast.

To avoid this, try creating meal plans, at least for the first few weeks. This will help you get into the rhythm of eating regularly portioned meals during your eating window.

5. Minimize Processed Carbohydrates and Sugars

While intermittent fasting does make it possible to eat a little looser than normal, you should still eat as little bread, pasta, rice, etc. as possible.

Focus instead on eating protein from beef, fish, or pork, carbohydrates from vegetables, fruit, and sweet potatoes, and healthy fats from foods like almonds, avocados, fish, and olive oil.

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You can find some carb sources that will aid your weight loss journey here.

How Intermittent Fasting Helps You Lose Weight

Eating this way has many benefits with regard to weight loss. The first is that when you’re fasting, your body will be forced to use its stored body fat for energy. Burning calories this way, instead of from the food you’re eating throughout the day, will help you experience significant weight loss, but specifically lose weight from any excess body fat you’re carrying.

This means that you won’t just be thinner, but you will also look better and be much healthier than if you lose weight the old-fashioned way[3].

Intermittent fasting can help optimize the release of the key fat-burning hormones in your body. This is especially true for the two most important hormones: human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin.

Human growth hormone plays a key role in turning on your body’s fat-burning furnace so that it gets the calories you need to work and play from stored body fat. Studies show that fasting can significantly increase the production of HGH[4].

The influence intermittent fasting weight loss has on insulin is just as impressive and possibly more important. Keeping your insulin levels low and steady is key to losing excess fat and keeping it off.

Diets that are rich in processed carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice) and simple sugars (candy, cookies, and soda) have the opposite effect. They cause your insulin levels to rapidly spike and then crash every time you eat one of these foods. The net result of this phenomenon is that your body will store more of what you eat as excess body fat instead of burning it off as energy.

Chronically elevating your insulin levels like this can also lead to the development of type II diabetes, obesity, and other chronic health problems. Intermittent fasting easily solves this problem.

One study found that men who participated in intermittent fasting had “dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity”[5].

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This happens because you’re not giving your body food, so it will not produce insulin, allowing insulin levels to balance out until you eat again. This helps your body stay in a calorie and fa-burning state. You’ll also find that it gives you more energy throughout the day.

Another great weight loss benefit of intermittent fasting is that hunger pangs and cravings that may normally plague you throughout the day will be reduced, if not altogether eliminated. This is probably due to its ability to balance your insulin and blood sugar levels and, in turn, help correct other hormonal imbalances.

Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss FAQs

Now that you know what intermittent fasting is and how to get started, it’s time to answer your other questions.

Below are answers to the questions frequently asked about intermittent fasting. These answers should help you and make getting started a lot easier.

How Much Weight Will I Lose?

The amount of weight you lose with fasting is determined by how often and long your fasts are, what you eat afterward, and other factors. Fasting for 16-20 hours a day can help you safely lose 2-3 pounds of fat every week.

While losing this much weight every week is great, it’s how it makes it happen that’s really cool. Losing weight with intermittent fasting means that you will never have to count calories or plan and prepare several meals a day.

Can I Work out While Fasting?

Yes, you can. In fact, doing the right type of workout while fasting will help you lose weight faster and even build muscle.

The best workouts to do while fasting for weight loss are 3-4 intense strength training workouts weekly. This means anything from standard strength training to kettlebell or body weight workouts.

Focus on doing 3-4 total body exercises per workout with as little rest as possible between sets. Doing this will help you burn more calories during and after your workout. You’ll also build muscle, which will help you look and feel better as the weight comes off.

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Won’t I Lose Muscle When I Fast?

First of all, you aren’t fasting long enough for your body to start breaking down muscle for energy. You have, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of calories from your stored body fat to use before that will begin to happen. Studies actually show that even after fasting for 3 days, no muscle is lost.

Is Fasting Safe?

As long as you are healthy, not pregnant, and aren’t taking medications, fasting is safe. Like all diets, you should discuss it with your doctor before beginning an intermittent fasting style of dieting.

I also feel that it may not be smart to follow this type of diet when you’re especially stressed. Since this diet can be a little stress-inducing at first, doing so when your ability to be relatively stress-free and rested probably isn’t a good idea.

Are There Any Supplements I Can Take to Make Fasting Easier?

As with any other weight loss plan, it’s a good idea to take a few nutritional supplements to ensure that your daily requirements are met. This includes a once or twice daily multi-vitamin, fish oil, and vitamin D.

I’ve also found taking 10 grams of branch chain amino acids before and after my workouts really helps, too. They’re great for giving you more energy during your workout and decreasing post-workout muscle soreness.

For supplements to specifically help with digestion, check out this article.

Conclusion

Now you know what intermittent fasting is and how it can help you lose weight quickly, safely, and pretty much effortlessly.

If you want to give it a try, find a fasting schedule that fits with you lifestyle and give it a go.

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Featured photo credit: Toa Heftiba via unsplash.com

Reference

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