Many women experience lower back pain during pregnancy only to find after giving birth that they are still experiencing back pain and now have a newborn and perhaps other children to care for. If this is a problem for you or a mom that you know, it’s important to take steps to care properly for your back and avoid serious injury. Here are a few tips on what you can do to minimize pain and maximize mobility.
Good posture when feeding baby
Unfortunately, many new moms make their back problems worse because they are not adopting a good, beneficial posture while feeding their baby. Often, when you're still learning how to breastfeed, your concerns focus around getting baby to latch on correctly to the breast. If you end up sitting in a position where you are hunched over, you are most likely straining both your neck and your upper back muscles as you look down. Even moms who bottle-feed can find their back is unsupported, causing pain.
The best solution is to choose your chair carefully if sitting down to feed, preferably a chair of medium height, not too low to the ground, with a straight back, and armrests. Make sure your back is relatively upright and supported. Use a cushion or pillow if you find you need extra support for your elbow or to put under baby so you don’t have to bend too far forward. Use a low footstool to elevate your legs slightly.
Alternatively, if sitting is really causing a problem, try lying on one side on the bed and letting baby lie beside you. It’s also important to pay attention to your posture when standing and to walk correctly, with your heel hitting the floor before your toes.
Your muscle tone will have altered during pregnancy and your joints and ligaments will remain loose for about five or six months so it’s important to begin any exercise program gently. Try walking short distances at first, perhaps with baby in a light pushchair and gradually build up the length of your walks over time.
Moving on to swimming later can also be helpful; however, it’s best to wait until your healthcare provider gives the go ahead before starting anything more strenuous, such as joining a class for low impact workouts that focus on stretching and toning. Again, check with your doctor before starting any abdominal exercises, such as crunches, pelvic tilts, or leg slides.
Be particularly careful when bending or stretching at home and get family and friends to help with tasks that require any heavy lifting. When you have to bend down remember to bend your knees, keeping your back straight, and push up through the strength of your legs to stand. If you have been on your feet for a long time, and your back pain worsens, a massage can certainly help.
Finally, if chronic pain persists, try some of the techniques used at the Detroit Back Pain Treatment center. These include chiropractic techniques and other non-surgical solutions such as spinal decompression therapy or laser therapy.