Is lower back pain common in early pregnancy?

Lower Back Pain as an Early Sign of Pregnancy

Just as lower back pain is an indicator that you might be starting your period, it is also a common complaint all throughout pregnancy. This is especially true in the early days when your body begins to undergo a rapid series of changes to prepare for supporting another life for nine months. It isn’t a good indicator for pregnancy though as stated, because in your menstrual cycle if you are experiencing lower back pain, it is usually due to the uterus contracting as it sheds, or prepares to shed its lining.

Generally, once you start to feel severe lower back cramps, your period will start within days. If you can’t wait that long to find out, you may be able to receive early pregnancy test results as most tests can now detect pregnancy up to a week before your missed period. You may need to purchase multiple tests, as many women do not receive their first positive result up to 16 days past ovulation. In general, lower back pain is most certainly considered a sign of early pregnancy but is not a good way to determine conception on its own. In combination with nausea, sensitive nipples, implantation spotting and other symptoms, lower back pain is more likely to be indicative of conception.

What Can Cause Lower Back Pain In Early Pregnancy?

Are you already pregnant and wondering what is causing you all this grief in your back? During early pregnancy, lower back pain is often caused by a sudden increase in the hormone Progesterone. This hormone helps relieve tension in ligaments so your body can adjust to the growing size of your uterus. It is no wonder that the pressure created by an ever-expanding uterus would translate to more lower back pain in the beginning. It is speculated that this pain stems from the uterus pressing against nerves and blood vessels in your pelvic region.

Due to the interconnected nature of your body, back pain due to pregnancy may also mean leg pain and cramps. Leg cramps are most reported by pregnant women to occur at night. This may be because they are laying down and adding more pressure against already squished nerves, or it may just be due to a heightened awareness of one’s body when at rest. It is important to consider that the cause of lower back pain at any point in your life and pregnancy could simply be stress. Whether you are stressed over the possibility of being pregnant or stressing over bringing your little one into the world, stress is known to cause the muscles of the body to clench, making everyday movements more painful and damaging.

How to Treat Back Pain During Pregnancy

Note: Regardless of whether your back pain is an ongoing condition or something that has just recently started, you should always consult with your physician before undertaking any strenuous exercise. Failure to do so could result in you creating further damage or injury to your spine or muscles.


Sitting up straight with your shoulders back and chest out will help develop good posture and as your uterus grows with the size of your baby, it will be easier and less of a strain for your body to keep its center of balance if you maintain good posture throughout your pregnancy and beyond.

Any of these suggestions may be applied to menstrual periods as well.


Want a fun way to get better posture and develop some muscles you’ll surely be used in childbirth? Try taking a yoga class or if money is tight, surfing YouTube for an instructor you like. Yoga is stress-relieving and that alone can help take away some lower back pain. It’s focus on breathing more mindfully and becoming aware of every inch of your body has a calming effect on the mind and may help you manage stress better. Make sure you set yourself up with a yoga program specifically designed for pregnant women. Even better would be finding a program for your specific trimester as moves will vary depending on how far along you are and what your body needs help doing at that stage.


All the weight of the tiny person inside your uterus puts a whole lot of strain on your lower back as you enter the second and third trimesters. Swimming is the most doctor recommended exercise during pregnancy because it lifts the weight of your baby off of your spinal column and helps decompress each individual notch in your back, all through some simple breaststrokes. If you start to feel faint or your heart rate is unusually high, you should stop and consult a doctor immediately. Always clear exercise with your doctor first during pregnancy.

Maternity Support Bands

In order to reduce the amount of pressure your growing belly is putting on your pelvic and lower back areas, consider purchasing a maternity support band. These are designed to lift the stomach and help aid your ab muscles in carrying your baby’s weight. It’s a way to cheat the full effect of gravity on your body. While some can be expensive, many consignment shops designed for women and infants sell them.

Heating Pad

While heating pads are sometimes a controversial topic among expectant mothers, doctors agree that there is no threat to your baby if you are using a heating pad at a moderate temperature on only one part of your body at a time. Hot tubs should be avoided during pregnancy because it is proven that they cause a spike in body temperature, increasing the risk of harm to your baby. If you are comfortable using a heating pad, you’ll be glad you did. Heating pads open up the pathways of blood vessels, relieves the pain of the joints, and helps oxygen travel through your body faster.

Chiropractic Care

Seeing a licensed chiropractor twice a week during pregnancy is highly recommended by doctors and pregnant women everywhere. If you find no relief in the tips above, there might be an issue only a professional is equipped to address. Depending on the treatment you receive, continued chiropractic care may also serve as a way to de-stress and put a mini spa treatment in your week. And less stress for mom is more health for growing baby!