7.2  Pregnancy-related changes in posture and joints

Pregnant woman

A pregnant woman’s entire posture changes as the baby gets bigger. Her abdomen transforms from flat or concave (dished) to very convex (bulging outwards), increasing the curvature of her back. The weight of the fetus, the enlarged uterus, the placenta and the amniotic fluid (the bag of waters surrounding the baby), together with the increasing curvature of her back, puts a large strain on the woman’s bones and muscles. As a result, many pregnant women get back pain. Too much standing in one place or leaning forward can cause back pain, and so can hard physical work. Most kinds of back pain are normal in pregnancy, but it can also be a warning sign of a kidney infection. (You will learn how to identify kidney infections in Study Session 18.)

In addition, progesterone causes a loosening of ligaments and joints throughout the body. Pregnant women may be at greater risk of sprains and strains because the ligaments are looser, and because their posture has changed.

7.1.2  Changes in the uterus, cervix and vagina

7.3  Changes in body weight during pregnancy