Why do you have low back pain during your second pregnancy? Some women don’t have any low back pain during their first pregnancy, and then during their second one they experience it. A question I often hear from second-time moms in my chiropractic office is “Why is this pregnancy so much harder than the first?”
Unfortunately, this question does not have a straightforward answer as there are usually several factors involved. I’ll touch on some of the key reasons your body may be feeling worse during a second or third pregnancy. More importantly, we’ll talk about things you can do reduce your pregnancy low back pain.
1. Your First and Second (or Subsequent) Pregnancies are Close Together
You may have gotten pregnant “too soon.”
Ok, ok. I want to preface this by saying that only YOU can decide what is right for you and your family when it comes to the age gap between children. I don’t have an opinion on this, because it’s an individual choice and you can’t let others tell you when the right time is.
With that being said, it is recommended by many OBGYNs that women wait 18 months after the birth of their first child to get pregnant again. This means that your baby should be 1.5 years old before you even get pregnant again!
Coming from a family that had 4 kids in 5 years, I will say that it is super fun to have siblings so close together. Physiologically speaking, it is really hard on your body to carry children so close together. During pregnancy, your body undergoes rapid physical and hormonal changes. Not allowing yourself time to heal fully can make subsequent pregnancies more uncomfortable. The pubic symphysis expands during delivery and it takes a long time for it to recover in many women. The increased pressure and Relaxin hormone during second or third pregnancies can cause you more pain in your pelvis.
2. Your Second Baby May Be a Different Sex
Yes, the difference in your hormones and the way you carry a boy vs a girl can play a big role in how you feel physically.
Maybe you carried a boy the first time and now this time you’re carrying a girl. The increase in estrogen can certainly change how you’re feeling. Perhaps you’re carrying a boy this time around and he sits further out in front while your girl sat lower in your hips. This small change in where you’re carrying can change how your lower back maintains posture and moves.
3. You’re Much Busier than Before Your First Pregnancy
If you have a toddler, it’s almost guaranteed that they’re wearing you out.
Yes, you were exhausted during your first pregnancy but at least you could go home and nap after work. Now you have an energetic toddler running around demanding your time and attention. Being a parent can, at times, be exhausting in and of itself but being a pregnant parent with a toddler can feel next to impossible.
4. You Were in Better Shape Before Your First Pregnancy
You’re not in as good of shape. Maybe you are, I don’t know. But for many of us, the gym is not as much of a priority as it once was.
Maybe when you got pregnant with your first you were in good shape, but with a toddler running around you’ve realized that getting to the gym is harder. Juggling your home or work schedule plus naptime, feedings, pump time, socializing, and getting food on the table makes it a lot more difficult to get to the gym. Yes, we have to make exercise a priority but maybe now your form of exercise is a walk around the neighborhood and not a 5K.
Don’t be hard on yourself, this is just a season of life and you CAN get in shape again!
5. Your Diet Isn’t as Good as it Used to Be.
Maybe your nutrition isn’t the best right now, again no shame!
Who here is guilty of noshing on your kids’ snacks all day or eating the half of grilled cheese they left behind? Me! Unfortunately, these little snacks add up and can be especially noticeable when your body is changing during subsequent pregnancies. We know that we need to be eating healthy, nutrient-dense meals in order to feel our best while we carry a baby. The first time around was probably easier, you just had to worry about yourself. It’s a lot easier to prep yourself a salad without a hungry, active toddler at your feet. Now, to save time by not making two meals for lunch you just eat a PB&J and carrot sticks too.
How to Relieve Low Back Pain During Pregnancy
Perhaps all of the above apply to you, or maybe you are just dealing with one or two of the above. Regardless, know that there’s a lot you can do on your own to be healthier and more comfortable during this pregnancy. I know that making positive changes can be difficult. They’re especially difficult when you’re busy and maybe not feeling that well.
The one thing I recommend for all my patients who have low back pain during pregnancy is to start some spinal stability exercises. They should help reduce some of your pregnancy-related low back pain. They are also great for keeping it from getting worse. Check out the video below on a few easy exercises you can do at home!
Try to be consistent with these exercises on a daily basis, and they may relieve a lot of your discomfort without any other changes. If they’re not, there are many other things you can do to improve. In my next blog, I’ll cover some positive and simple changes you can start to relieve low back pain and have a more comfortable pregnancy.
As always, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions. Also, remember that you’re not alone. 75% of pregnant women experience low back pain. Chiropractic care during pregnancy is generally very safe and a great non-drug treatment option.
Dr. Brianna Williams DC is a chiropractic physician practicing at AccessHealth Chiropractic in Cary, NC. She treats neuromusculoskeletal pain and injuries using chiropractic manipulation, Graston Technique, rehab exercise strategies, and other supportive therapies. Primary areas of focus include pregnancy related conditions, back pain, neck pain, muscular pain, extremity pain, and orthopedic injuries. Dr. Williams is experienced in treating pregnant women, especially those who're exercising and want to stay moving during their pregnancy.
If you're interested in whether she or another AccessHealth provider can help you, navigate to our contact page or follow this link to request an appointment.