Lower Back Pain in Early Pregnancy

Reasons for Lower Back Pain in Early Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a beautiful experience although women agree they could do without the weight gain, water retention, nausea, heartburn, and lower back pain. However, the minute a mother holds her newborn, all negative memories vanish. While a remarkable experience, there is no question that for most women, pregnancy can be challenging, especially after the seventh month. As more weight is gained and the growing fetus settles further down into the abdominal cavity, discomfort intensifies.

However, some women experience lower back pain in early pregnancy, which may or may not be accompanied by abdominal cramping. Because this is such an important topic, we wanted to provide facts regarding the reasons why this might occur. Using this information, a woman would have a better idea if the pain is normal versus when a trip to the doctor would be imperative.

Of course, if at any time during pregnancy a woman has concerns or questions, there should be no hesitation in getting in touch with the doctor or midwife. While there are aspects of pregnancy shared by all women, the overall experience is unique to the individual in many ways. Doctors are available to help so any issue at all should be discussed.

Ectopic Pregnancy

One of the more serious reasons for lower back pain in early pregnancy is with an ectopic pregnancy. With this, rather than a fertilized egg attaching to the uterine wall, it attaches somewhere else, usually in the fallopian tubes. This type of pregnancy is invalid, meaning it cannot ever be carried to full term but because the egg could rupture or become unattached, a woman could experience internal bleeding.

Because of the dangerous nature of an ectopic pregnancy, if a woman were to experience lower back pain in early pregnancy coupled with other signs such as pelvic and abdominal pain, feeling dizzy, developing a stiff neck and shoulder, and sometimes having vaginal bleeding, emergency medical care would be needed.

Change in Posture

Poor posture is a contributor to lower back pain for everyone but specific to pregnancy, the way a woman stands, walks, and sits changes as the fetus grows. Typically, discomfort and pain would be felt in the later months of pregnancy due to the size of the fetus but there are times when pain associated with change in posture could appear early on. For instance, if twins or triplets were being carried, the size of a woman’s stomach would increase early on, causing pain.

Hormonal Changes

While with child, a woman’s hormones are all over the place but one in particular called Relaxin can be responsible for lower back pain in early pregnancy. This hormone serves a very important role of helping ligaments relax in preparation for childbirth. While rare, Relaxin can start being produced too early, at which time lower back and joint pain would be expected due to the body being too flexible.


No woman wants to consider that back pain in early pregnancy could be a sign of impending miscarriage but unfortunately, it could be. Usually, a miscarriage occurs within the first trimester and during that time, several warning signs would be noted. While hard to hear, the process of miscarriage is nature’s way of taking care of an unhealthy pregnancy.

In addition to experiencing lower back pain in early pregnancy, a miscarriage would offer other symptoms to include spotting or full bleeding, actual labor contractions, vaginal discharge, and even release of tissue. Sadly, there is nothing that can be done to stop a woman from having a miscarriage once it has begun but if tissue has not passed from the body, it would be vital to see the doctor so infection could be avoided.

Normal Pregnancy

While not overly common, lower back pain in early pregnancy is actually normal for some women. In fact, there are some women that start to have symptoms of pregnancy within weeks after conceiving. Typically, someone who has already been pregnant would be more in tune with the body and therefore, notice things earlier on than someone going through a first pregnancy.

However, every woman is different so if water retention, sore breasts, and even lower back pain in early pregnancy develop, most doctors would not consider this as being odd. Even so, there is nothing wrong in a woman getting peace of mind by talking to the doctor or midwife.

Round Ligament Pain

Another reason for lower back pain in early pregnancy is a condition known as Round Ligament Pain. In this case, there is no risk to the mother or unborn fetus although pain is usually intense. In simple terms, Round Ligament Pain is the result of the body stretching to make room for the growing fetus. Specifically, tissue connecting the uterus to the abdomen and pelvic area stretches beyond normal limits in response to the uterus getting larger to accommodate the fetus but also amniotic fluid and placenta.

Sometimes, pain associated with Round Ligament Pain is felt within the first three weeks of being pregnant but usually, this type of pain develops toward the end of the first trimester. Pain is persistent although often tolerable. However, certain movements and actions to include laughing, coughing, and sneezing can make it worse.

Lack of Fitness

Reduce fitness or low back muscle strength could be one of the main causes of lower back pain during pregnancy, even more importantly as the future mother gets into the last trimester… Exercising before becoming pregnant as part of a healthy lifestyle, with some of these exercises and increase your fitness will make you cope better with pregnancy back pains and during birth.