Pregnant moms will tell you that eventually, pregnancy back pain strikes – hard! It certainly makes the list of the top 5 pains of pregnancy and for obvious reasons. You’re literally carrying a whole separate person in your front and that puts a strain on your back. However, the timing of pregnancy back pain couldn’t be worse! For most of us, back pain comes at night so if you’ve felt really bad back pain at night while pregnant, you’re not alone. Here’s why it’s happening and why the U-shaped pregnancy pillow is the best option for back pain at night.
Why does your back hurt at night during pregnancy?
Studies have been done to answer this question for pregnant women and here is the main theory…
“Low back pain during pregnancy, especially pain that worsens at night and is severe enough to wake the patient up, is the result of venous engorgement in the pelvis. The expanding uterus presses on the vena cava, particularly at night when the patient is lying down. This combined with the increased fluid volume from fluid retention during pregnancy leads to venous congestion and hypoxia in the pelvic and lumbar spine.” (from US National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health)
In a nutshell, you guessed it, your body is changing and putting a heavy burden on your pelvis and spine.
What Helps Back Pain at Night During Pregnancy?
Here’s a quick list of doctor-recommended solutions for back pain that strikes at night.
- Try to keep your posture in mind. Since your changing body may cause you to overcompensate for the weight in your front, you may find yourself leaning backward, which puts a strain on your back. To combat this tendency, think about keeping your shoulders and chest straight and upright and sit with a pillow at your back to keep you sitting upright as well.
- Sleep on your side. According to americanpregnancy.org, doctors highly recommend sleeping on your side during pregnancy to provide optimal circulation to your and your baby. Furthermore, side sleeping “also places the least pressure on your veins and internal organs. Sleeping on your left side will increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and your baby. Plus good circulation helps reduce potential swelling, varicose veins in your legs and hemorrhoids.”
- Make sure you’re doing limited exercises to keep your back muscles strong. Again, there is helpful information about pregnancy exercises found on American Pregnancy website, and there you’ll be able to find guidance on the best pregnancy exercises to help pregnancy discomforts, including back pain.
- Use pillows designed to help with pregnancy back pain at night. Pregnancy pillows work wonders for pregnancy back pain relief at night. Additionally, pregnancy pillows support the back, pelvis, and neck and may be the ONLY pregnancy aid you need! Keep reading to see which pillows have the best reviews on Amazon.
What is the Best Shape Pregnancy Pillow?
The best shape pregnancy pillow to get for pregnancy back pain during sleep is the U-shaped pillow. However, the C-shaped pillow comes in second for best pregnancy pillow shape.
The length and curvature of a u-shape pillow offers support for all of the pain points mom experience at night while pregnant. As you can see from the picture below, the u-shaped pregnancy pillow offers support for the neck, ribs, belly and can even go between the legs for additional pelvic support.
That pillow pictured above has a detachable section to turn this into a c-shape if you need. This is the exact pillow I had and I would detach the straight section and use it between my legs at different angles throughout the night! I had a lot more pain in my hips than in my back so the relief this pillow wedge gave me felt life saving!
But there are other options out there, and if you like certain colors or designs there’s something for everyone! Take a look at these Amazon finds with the best reviews.
The AngQi 65-inch Full Body Support Pillow with Washable Jersey Cover
The Meiz Pregnancy Pillow with Velvet Cover, Adjustable Belt and Detachable Extension
INSEN Pregnancy Pillow, Full Body Pillow
LUXETILE 60in Pregnancy Pillow U Shaped
All of these options will surely give you some level of relief from back pain at night, as well as other pains that come with pregnancy. Plus, the u-shaped pregnancy pillow will come in handy during those first weeks of breastfeeding too! If you’re planning to breastfeed your newborn, I highly recommend you read my post of tips for Surviving the first 6 Weeks of Breastfeeding.