Two and a half stone pressure on spine leaves Mums suffering 'Baby Back'
Experts warn mums to be to give the same attention to back pain during pregnancy as stretch marks and morning sickness
In the biggest baby boom since 19721, last year saw British births rise off the scale to 729,6742. But with between 50-75% of women experiencing back pain at some point during their pregnancy3, over 365,0004 mums to be could be heading into pregnancy with the prospect of potentially painful back troubles as they prepare for the birth of their baby.
The NHS spends more than £1 billion per year on back pain related costs5, but Simplyhealth, the UK's biggest health cash plan provider, warn that mums’ over reliance on ‘Dr Google6’ coupled with a focus on other more common pregnancy side effects, can mean that back pain is often ignored, escalates, and starts to cause pain well beyond birth too. The condition, dubbed ‘Baby Back’ by Simplyhealth and experts at the charity BackCare, have created The Simplyhealth BackCare App, a free App designed to offer much needed help and advice on pregnancy pain relief for ‘Baby Back’ sufferers.
The App provides an aid to the management of back pain that for those that are pregnant cannot otherwise be met through the usual medications. Topical stretch mark creams and anti nausea aids are readily available but the advice around pain relief for those that are pregnant is far stricter.
The Medicines and Healthcare (Product) Regulatory Agency advises that traditional painkillers such as Ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NASIDs) should not be used in the first two trimesters of pregnancy unless “the potential benefit to the patient outweighs the potential risk to the foetus.” Further advice suggests that NSAIDs should not be used at all in the third trimester unless on the advice of a doctor7.
At the heart of the pain is the fact that, during pregnancy, the female body gains an average of two and half stones in weight8 – the equivalent of carrying around a 3 year old infant9 all day and all night.
While a typical baby at birth might weigh around 8 pounds, the extra weight comes from the following surprising additions10:
• Baby: 8 pounds
• Placenta: 2-3 pounds
• Amniotic fluid: 2-3 pounds
• Breast tissue: 2-3 pounds
• Blood supply: 4 pounds
• Stored fat for delivery and breastfeeding: 5-9 pounds
• Larger uterus: 2-5 pounds
• Total: 25-35 pounds (2.5 stone)
As your baby develops your centre of gravity changes and you lean backwards without realising it. Hormonal changes relax the ligaments in the pelvis and lower back which can aggravate pre-existing conditions which were pain free before pregnancy. Your abdominal muscles help support the spine, and in pregnancy these muscles are stretched and become weakened.
Further research from Simplyhealth shows that a third of people say they have felt depressed from suffering with a bad back and 38% of people say they have felt stressed from back pain11.
We hope that our App’s new pregnancy advice will help women who are struggling with back pain throughout their pregnancy to find the best advice and the most effective intervention for their pain. Even better, every time a mum to be downloads the App from the App store or Google Play™† we will donate £1 to BackCare* to help them fund further research into the causes, prevention and management of back pain during pregnancy and beyond.
4 50% of 729,674
11 OnePoll survey of 3,000 adult participants by Simplyhealth, September 2013
† Google Play TM is a trademark of Google Inc.
* Up to £120,000