7 Preventive Measures To Keep Shoulder Pain At Bay During Pregnancy

Shoulder Pain At Bay During Pregnancy

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Are you having a tough time with shoulder pain during pregnancy? Being the most movable part of your body, shoulders are one of the most potentially unstable joints. Therefore, your shoulder is too vulnerable to many problems.

What Is Shoulder Pain?

Any pain in and around the shoulder refers to shoulder pain.

Common Shoulder Problems:

There are a number of problems affecting the shoulder. Here are a few:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Dislocation
  • Fractures
  • Frozen shoulders
  • Separations
  • Tendinitis
  • Bursitis
  • Arthritis(1)

Shoulder Pain During Pregnancy:When To Contact A Medical Professional?

Shoulder pain is one of the commonest complaints of pregnant women. Around 40% of pregnant women suffer from the discomfort. However,not all of them need medical attention.Shoulder pain during early pregnancy is normal.Though it is natural to neglect shoulder pain as one among the many normal discomforts in pregnancy, it would be wise to look out for the following pointers.

  • Shoulder pain along with high fever, swelling and redness.
  • Persistent pain for more than two weeks in spite of usual home treatments.
  • Inability to move the shoulder.
  • Swelling of the shoulder.
  • Red or blue color of the skin at the shoulder.(2)

Ectoscopic Pregnancy And Pre-eclampsia:

When a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus or even at the fallopian tube, it refers to Ectoscopic Pregnancy. Few of the common symptoms of this kind of pregnancy include abdominal pain, sharp shoulder pain, vaginal bleeding, and dizziness. This kind of pregnancy can be even life-threatening, hence immediately reach your health practitioner if you doubt having these symptoms. If you have severe abdominal pain in pregnancy, it is best to check your blood pressure regularly.

The mixing of the placental substance with the maternal blood can lead to pre-eclampsia during pregnancy. Aprroximately 5-8% pregnant women suffer from this health condition. Though the significant symptom is high blood pressure, you can watch out for others like sudden weight gain, nausea, lower back pain, swelling, changes in vision and mental confusion. (3)

The Causes:

  • The changing posture of the pregnant woman along with the different psychological changes in the body paves the way for shoulder pain.
  • The ligaments of the knees, hips, back, neck and shoulder, loosen due to the chemicals the body releases. It is in preparation of childbirth by when the ligaments need to relax. But this increases the risk of sprain and strain to develop in the shoulders.
  • Sudden weight gain and posture change can also lead to putting more pressure on the shoulder.
  • Excessive sleeping on the left to increase the blood flow to the placenta can also put more strain onto one side, resulting in shoulder pain. Another good position to suggest will be sleeping on the back with a pillow underneath the right side.
  • As digestion slows down during pregnancy, the gallbladder fails to empty. Therefore, gallstones might be formed which can cause strong pain in the abdomen and right shoulder.
  • Other factors which contribute to shoulder pain are constipation, ulcers and gas trouble. (4)

[ Read: Sleeping Positions During Pregnancy ]


Follow these simple guidelines to keep shoulder pain at bay in pregnancy.

1. Maintain an upright posture while standing. Do not slouch.

2. Avoid standing for too long in a single position.

3. While standing, use the left and right foot alternately.

4. Take the aid of more pillows to keep your thighs in a parallel position.

5. Reduce carrying weight.

6. Wear comfortable footwear that evenly spreads the weight.

7. Change your bras and get professionally fitted ones. Wear appropriate maternity bras with wide straps that will reduce the weight of the enlarging breasts on the spine. (5)

Home Remedies:

Always consult your doctor when you have shoulder pain thoroughly troubling you.Even if it is a left shoulder pain during pregnancy.However,you can try these home remedies to find a temporary relief.

  • Stretch your body and do some exercises. You could try yoga or even swim to tone your body. But make sure you inform the instructor that you are pregnant beforehand. Stick to low-impact exercises.
  • Indulge yourself in a mild aromatherapy spa to relax your entire body.
  • A gentle massage can also help. But you might not be able to always approach a professional masseur. Then you can ask your partner to chip in. But make sure the strokes are gentle without disrupting the acupuncture points. (6)

Even the slightest discomforts in pregnancy require enough attention. The cause of shoulder pain can be something as silly as a disturbed sleep and also a more serious issue like ectoscopic pregnancy. Therefore, don’t ignore the pointers. Let us know whether you had suffered from shoulder pain in pregnancy and what remedies you have to suggest.

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