How to Relieve Neck Pain during Pregnancy

Written by: Meaningful Team

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Time to read 8 min

Neck pain , just like lower back pain, is very common during pregnancy. It’s mostly related to the changes your body undergoes to be able to grow a healthy baby.


The hormonal changes, plus the added weight of your belly, can lead to neck, back and shoulder pain. But it is not inevitable: you can take some actions that will allow you to reduce and even prevent pain from happening.


Here, we give you a guide to reduce neck pain during pregnancy, and to prevent it before it shows up.

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What Causes Neck Pain during Pregnancy?

During the forty weeks of pregnancy your body goes through a series of changes in order to accommodate your growing baby. These body changes can lead to some uncomfortable symptoms, such as stiff neck, upper back pain, and even shoulder pain.


Additionally, the added weight contributes significantly to this type of pain in pregnant people, coupled with hormonal and lifestyle changes. Here, we will show you the most common causes of neck pain during pregnancy:

Bad Posture

This is probably the most common cause of neck pain, for everyone! Holding a stooped posture for long periods of time (as when working over a computer or using your phone) can cause neck stiffness and pain. This can also happen if you sleep in an uncomfortable position.


It’s important to have furniture that allows you to hold a good posture while being comfortable. At Nurture& we have a c ollection of Gliders and a Rocking Chair that will provide all the comfort you need to avoid neck and back pain.

The rocking  chair

Changes in Spinal Curvature

As your baby’s weight increases, your center of gravity shifts forward, forcing your spinal curvature to change. The neck and back muscles try to compensate for this change, putting extra stress on them and making them feel stiff.

Your Daily Routine

Every movement you make is affected by the weight and size of your growing belly. Because of this, some everyday movements can put stress on muscles that are not used to it, leading to neck pain during pregnancy.

Hormonal Changes

During pregnancy, the body produces two hormones called relaxin and progesterone, which help relax the muscles and ligaments of the pelvis to enable delivery.


However, these hormones’ effects are not limited to the pelvis: they can affect all muscles, leading to stiffness and pain in the neck, back, and other areas when they are overused.

Lack of Exercise

Being pregnant can make you feel more tired, and you might avoid exercise because of this. But doing insufficient exercise will cause your muscles to atrophy and tighten, leading to more pain during pregnancy.

Overexertion

Movements that used to be easy can now overwork your body, causing the muscles around yourspinal cord to tighten up, creating muscle strain or spasms. This increased stress on the neck and back muscles can lead you to experience pain and stiffness in these areas.

Headache

Sometimes, a headache that affects the back of the head can extend towards the neck and shoulders. This can be very common during stressful situations.

How to Relieve Neck Pain during Pregnancy

As you can imagine, neck pain during pregnancy is quite common, and it can even be more present during your second pregnancy


However, there is an equal amount of recommendations you can follow for pain relief.

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Good Posture

One of the most important things you can do to ease neck pain is keeping a good posture while sitting, standing, and even sleeping. This can be achieved by pulling the shoulders back and keeping them aligned with the pelvis and the knees. This alignment should be checked during postural changes as well.


Using a cushion for lower back support, and keeping your feet flat on the ground, can help to maintain proper sitting alignment, relieving neck muscle strain and enhancing overall comfort during pregnancy. You should also be aware of the sitting positions to avoid during pregnancy.


Having the proper furniture is fundamental to accomplish this alignment. In Nurture& we have a series of reclinable Nursery Gliders designed especially to keep you comfortable throughout your pregnancy.

Stretch It Out

Performing gentle pregnancy-safe exercises and stretches is always recommended, and it can improve the feeling of stiffness in the neck and back muscles. You can loosen these tense muscles by tilting the head front-to-back and side-to-side without lifting the shoulders, thus relieving the pain.


Try to take breaks from your daily activities every 60 minutes to shift from a poor posture to a relieving exercise, and then to a better posture. It is important to note that after the first trimester you should avoid any exercises that require you to lay on your back, for they would put too much stress on your heart.

The glider

Try Warm and Cold Compresses

Cold and warm compresses can help relieve neck pain and stiffness. Start with the cold compress (you can also wrap ice in a clean cloth) to reduce inflammation, and then swap to the warm compress (a towel damp in warm water or a heating pad) to help reduce the stiffness of the muscles.


Make sure not to apply heat or cold directly to the skin to avoid getting burnt.

Pregnancy Pillow

Pregnancy pillows are designed to offer support for your growing belly, and for the joints and muscles of the neck, back, knees and hips, thus relieving pressure on these points..


You can also relieve your neck pain using our Lumbar Pillow, since it is designed to help you keep your spine aligned and supported while you are sitting. This offers you the highest level of comfort while using any of our gliders.

Get a Massage

Getting a gentle neck massage can help loosen the tense muscles of your neck while also offering you a moment of relaxation.

Try Acupuncture

Acupuncture involves inserting very thin needles in specific areas of your body to reduce pain without using any medications.


This method not only helps with neck pain: it can also relieve other pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness, pelvic pain, and headaches.

Prenatal Yoga

This type of yoga focuses on relieving the pain and stiffness that a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy. It is a great way to relieve neck and shoulder tension, as well as back and butt pain, using healthy movements focused on breathing. It can also help you relax and improve your flexibility.

prenatal yoga

Try Chiropractic Care

You could visit a chiropractor or a physiotherapist to help you manage your neck pain and stiffness. Their methods for relaxing ligaments and muscles are pregnancy-safe and can help you feel more comfortable overall.

Swimming

Swimming can be a great way to exercise during pregnancy, because the water can help you support the weight of your belly. It can also be very relaxing! Just make sure to consult your obstetrician about the safe ways to go swimming while pregnant.

Take Magnesium

This mineral helps muscles function by contributing to their contraction and relaxation. This means it can help reduce neck pain, as well as leg cramps and other muscle-related pregnancy issues.


Magnesium can be obtained by eating fruits, vegetables, legumes, fermented soy products, and whole grains . It can also be found in supplements, but you should always ask your obstetrician or healthcare provider before consuming any kind of supplements or medication during your pregnancy.

How to Prevent Neck Pain during Pregnancy

The best treatment for pain is prevention. You can prevent neck pain from happening all the time by having a healthy lifestyle and following the recommendations of your doctor.


One of the best ways to avoid neck pain during pregnancy is finding a good sleeping position in which your body feels supported. During the first trimester, this could be achieved by lying on your back, or in any position you like.


However, as your belly grows, it’s best to sleep on your left side. You may need something to help you support the extra weight, such as a pregnancy pillow


Some women require a bigger pillow (for example, a U-shaped pillow), while some feel better by simply placing a small pillow between their knees.

Woman using a special pillow

On the other hand, practicing some doctor-approved exercises and prenatal yoga stretches will strengthen your back muscles. This can help you release the tension in this area and thus reduce back and neck pain. These practices can even help you cope during your postpartum recovery!


Last but not least, using furniture designed specifically to support your changing body can really make the difference and prevent you from experiencing neck pain. 


Nurture& offers products designed to give you comfort and peace of mind about your baby's care.

FAQs

Is Neck Pain Normal during Pregnancy?

Neck pain is a common problem that many people experience during pregnancy. Since the body goes through so many changes in such a short period, your muscles, ligaments, and joints can become overworked just by doing your everyday activities.


If your neck pain is similar to a stiff sensation or a muscle strain, it shouldn’t mean anything serious and should be easy to solve following the advice given above.

Why Do My Shoulder Blades Hurt at 33 Weeks Pregnant?

During the third trimester, as the body prepares for labor, your growing baby forces your center of gravity forward. This action adds up to the effect of the pregnancy hormones (that loosen up the joist and ligaments), and puts extra stress on the joints and muscles between the shoulder blades, causing pain.

How Can I Exercise My Neck While Pregnant?

Gentle neck stretches are generally safe during pregnancy, and can help reduce neck and upper back pain. Try slow, controlled movements like nodding your head, tilting your ear to your shoulder, or rotating your head in a small circle.

When Should You Call Your Doctor about Pregnancy Neck Pain ?

Fortunately, most neck pain during pregnancy improves with home remedies and stretches, but if neck pain begins to worsen over several days, spreads to the arms or legs, or is accompanied by headaches, numbness or tingling, you should talk to your doctor immediately.

Other symptoms to look out for are those related to:

  • Meningitis: High fever, impossibility to move the neck, a very intense headache that keeps getting worse.

  • Preeclampsia: High blood pressure, seeing sparkling lights, abdominal pain, swollen feet.

  • Ectopic pregnancy: Abdominal pain that seems to radiate to the shoulder and that doesn’t improve in any posture; a sensation of fading away.

To find more advice to carry out your pregnancy journey smoothly, or to prepare the best nursery for your new baby, visit our blog.