Now that I’m finally entering my second trimester, I can agree with all the other momma’s out there, it really does get better! Although I continue to have a subchorionic hematoma, the bleeding has become progressively less and my ultrasound has shown that it is not expanding. We also had a small virtual gender reveal with our family and are so happy to be having a baby girl! 

It's a girl!
It's a girl!

Since transitioning out of the nausea and fatigue phase of pregnancy, I am determined now to focus on eating healthy and strengthening my body to optimize my health for my baby girl. One thing I began to notice as I was moving around more, and something that I wasn’t expecting to experience so early on was low back pain. It seems counterintuitive to have pain this early, since you aren’t carrying around that extra abdominal weight just yet. However, due to hormonal shifts and an increase of the hormone relaxin, your pregnant body is going through more changes than you may realize. 

Relaxin is secreted by the corpus luteum in the ovary and also released from the placenta. Relaxin levels are highest during the first trimester. During this early phase, relaxin promotes implantation of the fetus into the wall of the uterus and inhibits contractions of the uterine wall. However, while doing all of those helpful things for baby, it also relaxes the ligaments in the pelvis, thus predisposing women to first trimester back and hip pain.

The pain I was experiencing was so severe that some days it was difficult to walk. Luckily being a physician, I was able to see one of my physical therapy colleagues immediately. She gave me exercises to strengthen my gluteal muscles, lower abdominal muscles, and overall core engagement. Since the ligaments have increased laxity, strengthening the surrounding structures will provide that support that your pelvis needs. Since sticking with a strict exercise regimen every other day, I have noticed a significant improvement and can already feel my pelvic stabilization increase. Other helpful tools for low back pain include a foam roller, stretching regimen, and a support belt. 

Has anyone else experienced back pain in the first trimester? Any other tips for low back pain that have been successful for others? If so, please comment below. 

Thanks so much for following as I navigate my first pregnancy!

With love,

Dr. Shweta Pai

*Follow my pregnancy journey here!