3 Drug-Free Ways To Treat Back Pain When You're Pregnant

During the course of your pregnancy, changes to your body can leave you with back pain. Your body produces relaxin, which is a hormone that's required to get your body ready for labour. It causes your ligaments to loosen, and when the ligaments in your back and hips loosen, your spine can feel strained. Additionally, as your bump grows you will likely alter your posture and gait to compensate for your centre of gravity shifting. This can lead to your spine moving out of alignment and trapping nerves, particularly in your lower back.

GPs generally advise against taking painkillers when you're pregnant, and many painkillers have been declared unsafe in pregnancy. However, you don't have to suffer, as there are effective alternatives to drugs. Here's an overview of three drug-free ways to treat back pain when you're pregnant:

Pregnancy Yoga

Certain yoga poses, particularly inversions, are not considered safe due to the disruption of blood flow for those who are pregnant. Pregnancy yoga classes use flow sequences that are gentle and safe throughout your pregnancy. These classes focus on improving circulation, releasing muscle tension and strengthening your back to help your body cope better with the demands of pregnancy and labour.

Prenatal Massage

Prenatal massage uses a combination of light and firm pressure movements in order to loosen tight muscles and improve the flow of oxygen and nutrients to your back muscles, which encourages healing of the tissue. You should use an experienced prenatal massage therapist and avoid lying on your bump, as this can create too much pressure around your uterus. Some massage therapists have therapy tables with a hole for your bump to fit through, but you can also have a massage while lying on your side.


Osteopaths use gentle manual manipulations to target back pain. Once your back has been assessed, the osteopath will devise a treatment plan that uses a combination of flexing and neutralising movements to engage the muscles in your back, realign your spine and provide relief from trapped nerve pain. You'll also be shown exercises you can do at home to strengthen your back muscles, which can prevent back pain returning as your pregnancy progresses. Your osteopath can also show you how to use pregnancy aids that will help support your back, such as chair wedges and support belts.

Before undertaking any of the above mentioned drug-free ways to treat back pain, ensure the practitioner is aware of any special requirements or precautions outlined by your midwife or obstetrician. This will allow them to work safely and ensure you get the most out of your chosen treatment approach.