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Q. What causes body pain during pregnancy?

Answered by
Dr. R Balakrishnan Menon
and medically reviewed by Dr. Divya Banu M
This is a premium question & answer published on Nov 30, 2019

Hello doctor,

This is my 34th week of pregnancy and I recently started having pain in numerous areas. For one when I sit down it is difficult to get back up due to sharp pain in my lower back. Then I have pain in my upper abdomen which seems to last 20 to 30 minutes. I do not want to go to the hospital for these pains and get sent home. So are they normal?

Dr. R Balakrishnan Menon

Infertility Obstetrics And Gynaecology


Welcome to

I do not see any reason for you to worry. Let me explain.

Delivery is not a single day phenomenon on that end of 10 months. Your body is gradually relaxing, which includes all the muscles, ligaments, joints for that moment of relaxation and expulsion of the baby. Even a hormone called relaxin is released to do this job. So this will cause back ache. Also the baby head which becomes harder and heavier, the bones of skull being ossified, will compress on to the nerves and ligaments of the pelvis. This will create ache, sometimes very severe, but only the delivery of baby can relieve you of this pain.

To have relief from this pain have good posture while sitting, standing, do not lift weights in back bend position, avoid soft beds (use the firm coir mattresses which do not bend as per your back shape), try some back stretching exercise (hold the head end of cot and try to touch the foot end of cot with toes, or go further till you stretch your back), can have some local application of painkiller oinments). As the baby grows, the stomach and bowel are pushed up, so you will have gastritis and irritation in upper abdomen.

Now the only four reasons you will need to consult the doctor or hospital are (I hope you have no other medical or obstetric risk factors):

1. If you have severe lower abdomen pain- starts within 1-3 secs and gradually increases in frequency and severity, associated with it the uterus becomes hard or tense, you will not feel the body parts. Do not panic, even if it is the real pain, delivery will be 10 to12 hours later (if this is your first baby).

2. If you find the water just flowing down your leg, just as you are peeing on yourself, it will be a warm water.

3. If the baby movements are reduced- baby has to move at least 4 times after each meal- so 12 per day.

4. If you see any sort of bleeding.

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