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What Causes Neck and Shoulder Pain During Pregnancy

September 21, 2021 4 min read

The body of pregnant women undergoes changes, resulting in several problems like pain, vomit, butterflies in the stomach, etc. Shoulder and neck pain is one of the common responses of the body during pregnancy. It is estimated that 40% of women complain of shoulder and neck pain during this period. But these symptoms can be an indication of serious issues that need medical concern. So never ignore any irregular and severe pain.

There are various reasons for pain depending on individual lifestyle and pregnancy type. Here I am sharing things you need to know, reasons, and solutions of neck and shoulder pain during pregnancy.

Massage gun for pregnancy

Common Causes of Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain during pregnancy is normal, and it is directly related to your pregnancy. The main reason for this pain is that muscles and joints adjust according to the fetus's needs. Stiffness and little pain are normal, but if it gets unbearable, then you must concern a doctor.

First Trimester

Your body releases relaxin hormones throughout the pregnancy. Relaxin plays an important role in helping your body adapt to the change and mold according to the fetus's requirements for survival. But during all these changes, relaxin also loosens your joints which causes pain.

Second Trimester

In the second trimester, the body faces drastic change because, at that time, the baby bump becomes visible. This causes changes in lifestyle, postures, sleeping style, and sleep schedule, everything changes.

All these muscle changes affect your body that causes pain like shoulder and neck pain.

Third Trimester

During the third trimester, the body has to adjust to carrying a grown baby. The weight of the baby molds the shape of the spine and muscle of the mother. In research, doctors encounter the fact that the spin of a pregnant woman during the last months is more curved at the hip area than a normal woman. The spin gets the shape of S to hold baby weight, but this also affects the shoulder and neck muscles that cause pain.

Shoulder pain is common because of hormonal, lifestyle, muscle, and joint changes. So if you face these normal conditions, never forget to consult a doctor first and then take good care at home.

Serious Causes of Shoulder Pain

Often shoulder pain leads to serious issues, so it is important to notice any unusual pain to avoid future problems.

First Trimester

If you encounter severe pain at the start of pregnancy, it can signify an ectopic pregnancy which means implantation of the embryo outside of the uterus. Pain at the tip of your shoulder, between shoulder and hand during 1-3 months can be an indication of ectopic pregnancy. These symptoms need urgent visits to the doctor to avoid future risks.

There are many other symptoms of ectopic pregnancy; shoulder and neck pain is one of them.

  • Nausea
  • Vomit
  • Stomach pain
  • Bloating and vaginal pain
  • Cramping and pain

Second and Third Trimester

The hormone retaining pregnancy can damage your body, resulting in a gallstone with severe symptoms like right shoulder pain, abdominal pain, and back pain. These symptoms are shown in this period of pregnancy. So, If you find any such symptoms consult a doctor immediately.

Causes of Neck Pain During Pregnancy

Neck pain is common during pregnancy because new life is growing in a woman's body that adds pressure due to weight, resulting in neck pain. If you feel pain, there can be many reasons. But first, visit your doctor, and if everything is normal, these are some common responsible factors for neck pain during pregnancy.

Poor Posture

This is one of the basic reasons behind neck pain. Because of poor posture, your spine behind your throat adopts extra bend and causes pain. During pregnancy, the body passes through changes that weaken her body, and changing their posture results in neck pain.

Muscle Strain

Hormonal changes like excess production of relaxin that affect muscles and joints. Due to weakness, your neck muscles hurt. On the other hand, it can be due to a disturbed sleep cycle. Pregnancy affects lifestyle and habits of a woman, and less sleep and irregular sleep is the cause of these changes.


Headache is a common symptom in early pregnancy, and often it gets normal with time but affects neck muscles. These headaches can be due to high blood pressure, hormonal changes, nausea, weight gain, etc.

How to Reduce Neck and Shoulder Pain During Pregnancy

Shoulder and neck pain is common during pregnancy but can be a symptom of a serious issue. If you ever experience severe pain along with other symptoms, firstly visit a doctor to ensure the absence of any critical issues. During that period, you can practice many things to avoid or reduce pain. Here I am sharing some healthy tips to add ease to your life.

Prenatal Yoga

This is highly recommended for pregnant women whether they are feeling in pain or not. The basic purpose of parental yoga is to keep your body in good condition and controlled breathing to reduce fatigue. There are many yoga postures, and to find the right one for you, visit a professional yoga trainer.

Yoga keeps your body in shape, centered mind, and breathing reduces tension from your neck and shoulder to keep them relaxed.

and shoulder to keep them relaxed.

There are many other factors if you keep them in control; it can help you to fight these pains.

  • Increase protein intake
  • Stay hydrated
  • Regular exercise and walk
  • Avoid fast and fried food
  • Decrease salt intake
  • Don't stand longer


If you face any of these symptoms, it is normal, but it's time to pay attention and visit your doctor if you find anything abnormal. Reasons for pain can be hormonal change, the pressure of a baby's weight, changes in spin, and lifestyle changes.

It is important to adopt a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and healthy eating to save you from pain. You can save your body from any disturbance because you know yourself more than anyone else

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