Back pain during pregnancy is well documented. How many expectant mothers have we seen rubbing their aching lower backs in the later stages of pregnancy?
Unfortunately, this pain doesn’t always go away after the delivery of your baby as it’s not just caused by the weight of the baby inside the uterus. The body changes that contribute to back pain in pregnancy can often continue to cause the same pain once we’ve had our babies.
During pregnancy, as the baby bump gets bigger, abdominal muscles are forced to stretch and weaken. This alters your posture and puts strain on your back. Hormonal changes are also to blame. In order for your body to do all of that incredible growing and stretching, joints and ligaments are loosened. This makes your pelvis and your spine more unstable and more prone to strain. And, as we’ve been eating for two, some of that extra body weight can play a part in back pain too.
As a result, the pain in your back may continue until your muscles have regained some of their strength and your joints become more stable again. But that’s not to say you can’t do anything to help them along and to relieve some of that pain. Here are five ideas that will help you to deal with back pain after delivery:
1. Think About Your Posture
Life in the days after delivery is all about your baby. But you should try to adopt ways of picking up and holding your baby that don’t put unnecessary strain on your back. If you’re breastfeeding, sit well back in a comfortable chair and bring your baby to you, rather than bending over to them. A cushion can sometimes help to get both of you into a comfortable and practical position.
2. Take Up Yoga or Pilates
When your doctor advises you that you can return to exercise after delivery – this is sometimes different depending on how you delivered your baby and any complications you’ve experienced – sign up to a yoga or Pilates class. The relaxing movements involved in these practices will strengthen your muscles and help you rediscover that long lost core. Developing and toning the muscles around your middle will provide the support your back needs and help to relieve pain.
3. Consider Physiotherapy
Working with a dedicated physiotherapist to focus on your areas of pain and develop exercises designed to relieve them can be invaluable. You can do these exercises at home and keep them in reserve should you ever experience similar pain later in life.
4. Relax Your Muscles
Whilst a little rest and relaxation won’t solve the underlying problems causing your back pain, they can certainly help alleviate the pain for a time. A warm bath, a heat pad, or if you can get away, a massage can all provide a little respite and soothe aching muscles.
5. Try to Lose the Baby Weight
Eating healthily when dealing with a new born can be a tall order, especially as studies show that sleep deprivation makes us crave junk food! But do what you can to shed even a couple of those extra pounds. Any exercise, as long as your doctor has approved it, will help. A leisurely walk is good for you and your baby, as exposure to daylight helps them to regulate their internal clock and learn that night time is for sleeping. Double win!
Back pain after delivery is an agonising reality for many new mums, especially when we struggle to find the time and the energy to do anything constructive about it. But rest assured, over time things will get better and you’ll soon be back to your pre-pregnancy self.
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