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Ask The Expert: Pregnancy back pain (and what to do about it!)

June 18, 2018

Ask the Expert: Pregnancy Pain

Feeling a little less limber than you once did? You’re not the only one! Pregnancy affects your body in so many ways, and as your bump grows heavier, your posture can start to suffer, leaving you uncomfortable, and at worst, in pain. We ask Chiropractor Dr Michelle Zhou McCulloch of  UP!health for her advice on keeping yourself fit, flexible and free from pain, all the way through pregnancy and beyond.

Is back pain just part of being pregnant?

Absolutely not! However, according to statistics up to 50% of pregnant women will end up with some sort of back pain during their pregnancy, and it becomes even more common in subsequent pregnancies; so if you’re in this group, please be reassured that (unfortunately) you’re not alone.

Many pregnant women will first visit a chiropractor when they start to experience spinal discomfort or pain, typically during the second trimester, as the bump grows larger. In many cases this can be really quite debilitating – particularly if you’re busy working, or have a younger child to care for. But rest assured that there are effective treatments available to combat this, so you don’t have to just put up with pain.

What are the most common complaints that you treat during pregnancy?

Lower back pain and pelvic pain are common, with the sacroiliac joints most often affected. Sacroiliac joints in the pelvis are held together by strong ligaments that help to keep us stable. But during pregnancy a number of factors, including hormonal changes, can cause these joints to stretch and loosen, causing weakness in the pelvis that often results in that familiar pain in the lower back area.

Another associated factor is your growing bump, as this shifts your centre of gravity forward, putting even more strain on your lower back when it’s already working overtime. Your abdominal muscles also stretch to accommodate your baby, which weakens your normal core muscle support, causing yet more strain to the spine and pelvis. All in all, it’s really no wonder so many women experience this type of pain!

So what can be done?

When it comes to physical therapy, one, or a combination of therapies can be considered for treatment of pregnancy and postnatal back pain. Some of the more commonly utilised therapies include chiropractic, physiotherapy, osteopathy, acupuncture, massage and clinical Pilates. As a chiropractor, my following advice is focused predominantly on the management this type of pain from a chiropractic perspective.

Pre-pregnancy

I advise any woman who is thinking of conceiving to have a check-up with a chiropractor before they fall pregnant – this is especially important if you already suffer with back pain. A thorough assessment of your alignment and posture, along with a few readjustments where necessary can highlight any potential issues before they become major problems, and can actually go a long way to prevent you from developing the dreaded backache once you do fall pregnant.

During pregnancy

For pregnant women who are experiencing pain, chiropractic adjustments are gentle, drug-free and safe when administered by a qualified practitioner. Look for government-registered practitioners, and don’t be afraid to ask your chosen chiropractor if they are experienced in working with pregnant women.

Some recent studies have shown that chiropractic treatment during pregnancy can actually reduce your labour time by as much as 24% for first-time mums, and 39% for subsequent births, which makes it an important tool as you consider your birth plan.

If your OBGYN has given you the all clear, then exercise that strengthens the core, such as pre-natal Pilates, can be helpful to maintain strength and a good posture through the different stages of your pregnancy. Gentle workouts are also great energy and mood boosters, which really helps when you are feeling heavy and tired! I encourage my pregnant patients to practice a lot of self-care; make sure you are being easy on yourself and don’t hesitate to pamper yourself with massage when you need it.

Post-pregnancy

As a part of your recovery, I’d recommend a posture and spinal alignment check after your delivery. This can be scheduled at around four weeks after a vaginal delivery, and six-eight weeks if you had a C-Section. If you are unsure as to whether you’re ready to see a chiropractor yet, make sure you get the okay from your OBGYN first. Your chiropractor can also help you to maintain good posture when carrying your newborn, or breastfeeding, for example – both things that can commonly cause aches and pains.

Once you feel ready and have the doctor’s go-ahead then you can also resume some gentle exercise – but please take it slowly, as overdoing things in the early days can often cause more harm than good! Post-natal Pilates is great for re-training the core, while gentle yoga helps keep the body supple, and is a great relaxation technique for some very much-needed me-time.



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Size Guide Clothing

YOUR GUIDE TO FINDING THE RIGHT SIZE FOR YOUR CHANGING SHAPE

Unsure what size to buy? Mayarya offers an array of style solutions to suit your changing shape. From cleverly designed maternity friendly but not maternity only dresses with discreet nursing access to maternity pants with stretchy elasticated waistbands that can adjust to your post-partum shape too.

Find out what styles work for your stage of pregnancy and beyond!

How does Mayarya sizing work?

Mayarya follows international sizing standard. We take every effort to keep our sizing true and consistent and we want you to be able to wear the same size across all garment types in Mayarya. However, there will be occasional variations in the fit of some products depending on the style and fabric.

How does the size guide work?

The first step to determine which size to buy is by measuring your body size. Before you start measuring, remember to use non-stretchable tape and to keep the tape close to your body without depressing it. We aligned our products to the body measurements of the International Sizing Chart.

  • For Tops and Dresses, please measure your bust. Wrap the measuring tape around the fullest part of your chest (at nipple level).
  • For Bottoms, please measure your under belly or under hip. Wrap the measuring tape around the fullest part of your hips and just below your bump.

Please see our 'Mayarya Clothing Size Guide' below for more details:

  • CM
  • INCH

Please Note:

  • Our measurements indicate the maximum size within a range. For example, if your bust measurement is 89cm (35 inch), and under belly measurement is 95cm (37 1/2 inch), then you would wear a size S
  • Our model's average measurements during pregnancy: Waist (98cm / 38.5 inch) - Bust (90cm / 35.4 inch) - Hip (95cm / 37.4 inch) - Height (175cm / 5'8 inch)
  • Our model's average measurements not pregnant: Waist (68cm / 26.8 inch) - Bust (90cm / 35.4 inch) - Hip (95cm / 37.4 inch) - Height (175cm / 5'8 inch)
  • Our model wears size S for tops, dresses and bottoms

 

BOTTOMS

Bottoms are one of the first items you realize your belly started growing! At Mayarya, we have under belly and over belly styles to accommodate your style and comfort needs.

Under Belly Pants, Treggings and Leggings

They sit below your growing bump and are particularly great during warmer seasons as it means less layers for your bump. A great solution for women with very sensitive skin as it does not cover your belly. Mayarya's under the belly pants look much like regular pants with stretchy, elasticized waistband so you can continue wearing them post-pregnancy too!

Over Belly Pants and Leggings

They are particularly great if you want some support around your belly. We choose breathable and stretchy fabric so it will not restrict the growth of your baby. You can fold them down during the early stage of pregnancy, roll up during 2nd and 3rd trimesters and roll/fold them down post-pregnancy.

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Over Belly Treggings
Front Twisted Maternity and Nursing Dress

 

DRESSES AND TOPS

Our dresses and tops are designed for both pregnant and non-pregnant women in mind so you can wear them seamlessly post-pregnancy.

You can select your size according to your pre-pregnancy size since our clothes are designed to fit from your first trimester to your third trimester. 

Our smart design allows more room around your belly during pregnancy but falls down nicely on your body after pregnancy.

If you have gained more than the average pregnancy weight according to your doctor, you could go one size up from your pre-pregnancy size. If you are between two sizes, we recommend you pick the larger of two sizes.

Shop all Maternity and Nursing Dresses >

Shop all Maternity and Nursing Tops >