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Did you know that almost 80% of women deal with severe back pain during pregnancy? Back pain is among the many bodily aches pregnant women have to deal with until labor.
If you’ve been experiencing back pain during pregnancy, you’ve probably thought about deep heat to soothe the pain. Is deep heat pregnancy safe, though? Let’s find out!
Can I Use Deep Heat in Pregnancy?
The answer is no. It’s advised not to use any medicated deep heat products during the course of a pregnancy. Anything from deep heat rubs to deep heat patches and so on isn’t advised.
Even though it can notably ease the pain, it can pose a risk to you and your precious baby. Let’s discuss those risks more.
What Are the Risks of Using Deep Heat in Pregnancy?
Most deep heat products contain anti-inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen, Nurofen, and the likes. Using deep heat products may cause this medication to be absorbed and cross to the placenta, which will harm your baby.
According to the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the use of anti-inflammatory drugs at 20 weeks and onwards in the pregnancy can cause kidney problems to your unborn child.
After 20 weeks of pregnancy, the fetus’s kidneys start producing amniotic fluids, which help in protecting the baby’s digestive system, lungs, and muscle development.
The problem with anti-inflammatory drugs, also known as NSAIDs, is that they cause a reduction of blood flow to your baby’s kidneys. As a result of the low blood flow, the urine production of your unborn baby is greatly affected.
And because amniotic fluids are basically a collection of urine produced by the fetus, the lowered urine production will lead to kidney problems, which will ultimately affect your baby’s lungs, digestive system, and overall health.
Safe Alternatives to Deep Heat in Pregnancy
If you’re struggling with back pain and are looking for deep heat alternatives, here are a couple of excellent alternatives:
Heat packs are a good alternative to deep heat products and they pose no threat. They’re just microwave-heatable packs and they come in different shapes and sizes.
What you do is, after heating them, you place them on your body where you’re feeling pain. The temperature is then absorbed in your body, which increases tissue temperature.
To go into more detail into how they work, the temperature emitted from the heat packs causes a rise in local soft tissue temperature. This causes a case known as muscle vasodilation.
Vasodilation of the muscles means the widening of blood vessels, which causes an increase in blood flow. This process helps reduce muscle tension, relaxes tight knots, and eventually relieves the pain a bit.
An important thing you need to know is that heat packs are sometimes medicated and contain anti-inflammatory drugs. So, make sure to check that you’re buying the non-medicated ones.
Hot Water Bottles
Warm water bottles are another viable option. They function the same as heat packs and can do the job for you.
However, some people consider heat packs to be the better option. The reason for that is that they can be used more comfortably during laying down and napping without worrying about spilling water.
Tips on How to Treat Back Pain Without Deep Heat in Pregnancy
Here are some tips to help you deal with pain back during pregnancy without the need for deep heat:
We’ve mentioned before that heat packs can help relieve the pain. Coupling that with massages can help relax your muscles as well.
So, have your partner or a friend give you a massage after using the heat pack to help increase muscle relaxation.
There are several complementary therapy approaches that can ease the pain during pregnancy. One type of therapy that’s starting to become common is Acupuncture.
Acupuncture is a type of Chinese therapy that aims to ease body pain. This method works by inserting thin needles into the skin at certain places in the body.
However, research is still being done regarding this form of therapy, so it’s advised to consult your doctor before turning to it first.
Wearing well-supported shoes with low heels can help support your weight and back correctly, which will ultimately help ease the pressure on your back.
It’s also better to avoid high heels and flat shoes during pregnancy.
Tips on How to Avoid Back Pain in Pregnancy
Here are a couple of effective tips to keep in mind during your pregnancy to keep your back well supported:
Maintaining a good posture will help keep your back supported and help make it less pressured.
To avoid leaning forward due to the weight of your baby, remember to lean backward a bit. This will help you maintain a straight back, not an arched one.
While standing up, make sure to take it slow and stand straight. Don’t lean forward to get yourself up. Rather, use the support of a chair or a friend to stand tall without arching your back.
Remember to also keep a pillow behind your back while sitting. You should also consider getting a maternity support belt. It can help support your back and keep it in the right posture.
Staying active and maintaining a good exercise routine will help maintain the strength of your back muscles and relieve back pain in the long run.
Stretching also goes a long way with pain relief, as well as your overall body health, so make sure to stretch regularly.
You should of course consult your doctor regarding what exercises and stretches are suitable for pregnancy to avoid any injury.
Now that we’ve discussed the risks of deep heat products and their safer alternatives, all that’s left for you to do is to consult your doctor.
It’s important to stay connected with your doctor every step of the way seeing as every case is different and might require different care.
Wishing all upcoming mothers out there a smooth, safe pregnancy!