Upper Back Pain During Pregnancy: Causes and Relief

Many people have upper back pain during pregnancy. If you feel it, see your doctor first. You might be told it’s normal. Then, you can try simple things to ease the pain. Heating pads, ice, and massages can help. Also, a physical therapist can show you good stretches.

The baby’s weight and your increased body weight stress your muscles. Your center of gravity shifts too. This, plus hormones, makes your body’s ligaments and muscles loose. This causes upper back pain during pregnancy. Doing easy stretches at home can help a lot with the pain.

Key Takeaways

  • Your body weight may go up by 25 to 30% when pregnant, stressing your back muscles more.
  • Hormones can make your muscles and ligaments more loose, making your pelvis and back less stable.
  • Good posture, support that fits you well, and gentle exercises can ease and stop upper back pain during pregnancy.
  • You might need to see experts like a physical therapist or a chiropractor for bad or lasting pain.
  • If your upper back pain gets really bad or comes with serious signs, talk to your doctor.

Understanding Upper Back Pain During Pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, your baby and uterus get bigger. This can change your balance and put more stress on your back. You might gain 25 to 30% more body weight quickly. This could make your back muscles tired.

Causes of Upper Back Pain During Pregnancy

Before birth, your body makes hormones that make your muscles and ligaments looser. This makes your back and pelvis less stable. It makes your back muscles work harder to keep you straight. Also, your breast getting bigger can change how you stand. This can make your neck, shoulders, and upper spine hurt.

Changes in Body Weight and Posture

When you’re pregnant, you can put on a lot of weight fast. This extra weight can stress your back muscles. Also, as your baby grows, your balance shifts forward. This puts more pressure on your back.

Hormonal Fluctuations and Muscle Relaxation

Before birth, your body lets out hormones that relax your muscles and ligaments. This can make your back and pelvis less strong. So, your back muscles have to work more. Also, growing breasts can change your posture. This can cause pain in your neck, shoulders, and upper spine.

Recommended ExercisesDuration and Repetition
Doorway pectoralis stretchesHold for 30 seconds, repeat 3 to 5 times several times each day
Scapular retraction exercisesHold for 5 seconds, repeat 20 to 30 times, several times each day

To make your back muscles strong and reduce pain, try walking or swimming. It’s important to lift things the right way. Keep things close, don’t twist, and bend your knees.

upper back pain pregnancy

Identifying the Source of Upper Back Pain

Waiting to meet your baby is exciting, but the extra weight causes your back and belly to ache. Lower back pain is common during pregnancy, especially in the second and third trimesters. By the third trimester, some mothers even get upper back pain.

This pain comes from how your body changes. You gain weight, putting more stress on your back. The added weight, up to 30% of your before-pregnancy weight, and hormones can cause this pain.

Symptoms and Warning Signs

Along with back pain, muscle spasms can happen later in pregnancy. This happens because some muscles get too relaxed. Plus, your posture changes due to growing breasts, leading to neck and shoulder pain.

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Don’t ignore severe or persistent pain, vaginal bleeding, or tingling in your limbs. These could be signs of a serious issue. If you have sharp ongoing pain, see a doctor right away.

Preventing Upper Back Pain During Pregnancy

Maintaining good posture is key to stopping upper back pain. Your body is changing a lot to make room for your baby. It’s vital to watch how you sit and stand to keep your back healthy. Fixing posture now helps stop back pain later in your pregnancy. This is for your lower, middle, and upper back.

Maintaining Proper Posture

Stand tall, with your shoulders relaxed and not pushed forward. Don’t hunch or arch your back in ways that feel uncomfortable. It’s important not to slouch. If you think you might have trouble keeping good posture, it could be a good idea to avoid standing a lot.

Ergonomic Tips for Sitting and Standing

Use pillows or chairs that support your lower back while sitting. When you stand, keep your knees soft. Don’t stand with your legs locked straight. This helps avoid back pain. Also, lift things the right way to keep your back from hurting.

Follow these tips in your day-to-day. Doing so will help you steer clear of, or cope with, upper back pain during pregnancy. Always remember, good posture supports the change in your body. It makes your pregnancy more enjoyable.

Exercise and Activity for Back Pain Relief

Low-impact exercises help with upper back pain in pregnancy. Activities like swimming, yoga, and walking make your back muscles stronger. This helps support the extra weight from your pregnancy.

Low-Impact Exercises for Pregnant Women

Low-impact exercises are great during pregnancy. Engaging in light physical activity like walking or swimming can help keep your back muscles strong. They support your body without causing more pain.

Stretches and Yoga for Back Pain Management

Stretches and yoga are good for managing back pain when you’re pregnant. A physical therapist can teach you stretches that reduce stress on your back. Prenatal yoga helps make your back stronger, plus it relaxes you and makes you more flexible.

Doorway Pectoralis Stretch30 seconds3-5 times
Scapular Retraction Exercise5 seconds20-30 times

Doing light exercise, stretching, and yoga can lower upper back pain during pregnancy. It also helps with back ache during pregnancy and other pregnancy backaches. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting anything new.

Professional Treatments for Upper Back Pain

If you’ve got hard or long lasting upper back pain during pregnancy, many pros can help. Chiropractors, massage therapists, and physical therapists know their stuff. They can ease your back ache during pregnancy and other similar pains.

Chiropractors mix regular medicine with natural moves to fix your body. They work to mend pregnancy-related backaches and prenatal spinal pain. Prenatal massage gives calming, gentle care for postural pains in pregnancy. This helps keep the spine health for expecting mothers.

Physical therapy is great for upper back relief pregnancy issues. Therapists check what’s causing your pain and make a plan for you. They use methods to help with ergonomic tips for expectant mothers.

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At-Home Remedies for Upper Back Pain Relief

Getting upper back pain when you’re pregnant is tough, but you can try some remedies at home. Things like using heat and cold, getting massages, and using devices to help your posture can really make a difference. They can ease your pain and lessen the stress on your upper back muscles.

Heat and Cold Therapy

Heat or cold on your upper back can feel really good. Place a heating pad, a hot pack, or a warm water bottle on your back to relax tight muscles and boost blood flow. Or, use an ice pack to slow down swelling and dull the ache. Try both and see what helps you the most.

Massage Techniques

Getting a soft back rub can also ease your upper back pain while pregnant. Although it won’t fix the problem for good, it can soothe you by making your blood flow better and easing muscle knots. Have your partner or a professional massage therapist focus on your sore spots.

Postural Support Devices

Using supports like body pillows, pregnancy pillows, and cushions can keep your spine in line. They’re great for when you sit a lot or sleep, making sure your body is in the right position. This takes off some of the pressure on your upper back.

Managing Upper Back Pain in Early Pregnancy

Early in pregnancy, you might feel upper back pain because of sudden body changes. These include growing weight and hormones. To handle this discomfort, stay upright, do easy exercises, and use body pillows.

If upper back pain won’t go away or gets worse, talk to your doctor. They can suggest safe options, like acupuncture or chiropractic care. These can ease back pain while you’re expecting.

Focus on sitting and standing the right way. Don’t lift heavy stuff. Try gentle low-impact activities such as a stroll, swim, or prenatal yoga. This makes your upper back feel better. Using heat, cold, or a massage on your sore back also helps a lot.

Always pay attention to how your body feels. If the pain gets too bad or just won’t stop, see a doctor. You can handle upper back pain early in your pregnancy with the right steps. Then, you can enjoy being pregnant.

Upper Back Pain in the Third Trimester

As you move into the third trimester of pregnancy, your upper back pain might get worse.

This happens because the baby and your belly are still growing. This makes you weigh more than before. Women usually gain 25-30% of their weight during pregnancy. This puts a lot of stress on your back.

Preparing for Labor and Delivery

Good posture and using support like body pillows can help. So can sleeping on your side. It keeps your spine in a good line and eases back pain.

Handling Increased Weight Gain

Lift things the right way to avoid hurting your upper back. Hold the object close, face it, and bend your knees. This keeps the load off your back. Doing easy exercises like walking helps your back too.

Ask your doctor about stretches and exercises to help. Things like doorway stretches and scapular retraction exercises can ease your pain.

Always check with your doctor before you start any new exercises while pregnant.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Many cases of upper back pain during pregnancy can be managed at home. But sometimes, you need to see a doctor. If the pain is severe or doesn’t go away, get help. Also, if you have other signs like vaginal bleeding or tingling/numbness in your arms or legs, call your doctor right away.

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Severe or Persistent Pain

Is your upper back pain very bad or not getting better? Even after you’ve tried ice, heat, massages, or light exercises? If so, see your doctor. It could be a sign of a serious health issue that needs checking.

Other Concerning Symptoms

Along with severe pain, watch out for other signs. If you have mid-back discomfort or see any vaginal bleeding, feel like you need to urinate a lot, or notice signs of premature labor, get medical help. Also, if your arms or legs feel tingly or numb, don’t wait to see a doctor.

It’s important to keep your spine healthy during pregnancy. If you’re worried about your upper back, make sure to tell your doctor. They can figure out what’s wrong and help you feel better.


Upper back pain during pregnancy is pretty common. But, you can do a lot to stop it from happening. Try keeping a good posture and doing low-impact exercise. Also, there are treatments you can do at home or with a doctor. Remember to tell your doctor if you’re still in pain or if you’re worried.

Fighting upper thoracic pain and other pregnancy-related backaches is key. This helps you and your baby stay healthy. Make spine health for expecting mothers a top priority. Follow ergonomic tips for expectant mothers to lower pain. It’ll make your journey smoother and more comfy.

Use a mix of looking after yourself, getting help from pros, and being careful early on. This can help you beat back ache during pregnancy. Then, you can focus on the fun stuff coming your way. Use all the help and support you can. And, if your upper back pain gets really bad or doesn’t go away, see a doctor. Your health and your baby’s health should always come first.


What should I do if I experience upper back pain during pregnancy?

First, talk to your doctor about your upper back pain during pregnancy. Make sure it’s not something serious.If your doctor says it’s normal, try some easy ways to lessen the pain. This can help your muscles and back feel better.

What can cause upper back pain during pregnancy?

Lots of things can make your upper back hurt while you’re pregnant. The baby’s weight and your bigger body can stress your muscles. Your balance changes, and your body makes more hormones. These loosen your muscles and can make your back ache.

How can I prevent and relieve upper back pain during pregnancy?

To keep your upper back pain early on, sit and stand straight. Do gentle exercises and use body pillows for support.As you get closer to having your baby, use good posture and those support items. They can make your back feel less strained.

When should I seek medical attention for upper back pain during pregnancy?

If your pain is bad and won’t go away with simple steps, see a doctor. Also, if you notice any unusual signs, like bleeding or numb limbs, don’t wait. Call your doctor right away.