Pain and discomfort are normal during pregnancy—more than 50 percent of expectant mothers experience back pain. Lower back, abdominal, and pelvic girdle pain (PGP) and pressure may begin as slight annoyances but can increase in intensity. Daily activities may become difficult for expectant mothers if the pain becomes too severe or persistent. Varicose veins can also develop in the legs or pelvis, along with swelling and fatigue. These conditions are common and may benefit from the use of maternity support or compression garments.
Oh, My Aching Back!
Back pain is caused by many factors during pregnancy, including:
- Changes in posture
- Hormonal changes that cause spinal ligaments to loosen
- Increased strain on back muscles from a weight gain
These factors can also cause problems in the pelvic joints, resulting in PGP.
Properly fitted pelvic or maternity support belts help limit movement of joints, improve posture and balance, and decrease the amount of pain and discomfort that women experience during pregnancy. Combined with lifestyle changes, rest and the supervision of a physician, back and pelvic pain can be reasonably managed.
Swollen All Over
Expectant mothers produce around 50 percent more blood and body fluids to aid in the development of their babies. Because of this increase in fluid, swelling is common in pregnant mothers. Swelling—also called edema—most often occurs in feet, ankles and legs. It’s also normal for the hands and face to become swollen during pregnancy.
Graduated compression stockings or maternity support hose can decrease this swelling while also helping with varicose veins and fatigue. Varicose veins may develop during pregnancy due to the larger size of the uterus, which applies pressure to the large vein that carries blood to the heart from the legs. Though typically harmless, varicose veins can become itchy or painful if left untreated. Compression stockings support legs and veins while promoting circulation, which can decrease edema and the appearance of varicose veins.