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Have you ever experienced back, shoulder of neck pain when you go to lift or carry your children? Do you feel you are repeatedly leaning forward, lifting and awkwardly twisting? Along with your baby comes strollers, changing mats/tables, cribs, car seats and everything in between. Repeated movements can lead to extra strain on your body and difficulties, particularly post-partum while your body is still recovering.
Often as a new mum you put yourself second on the priority list and baby as number one. Ensuring you are healthy and looking after your physical well-being is just as important too. Through this blog I want to share some tips and tricks to help you move better with your baby. The best tip I can give you is to have good muscular strength and practice good biomechanics while lifting and carrying.
Prolonged postures or position, and uncomfortable or awkward ones in particular can cause pain, stiffness and discomfort. When feeding the baby sit in a well support chair that promotes good spinal alignment if possible. Also, use pillows, cushion or your pregnancy pillow to help position the baby for feeding so you don’t have to lean or crouch awkwardly. Try carrying your baby with both arms close to your body, with your hips and pelvis centred.
Carrying your baby the same way each time can cause strain on your shoulders, neck, spine and pelvis. Change postures and positions regularly to ensure balance. If you must carry your toddler on your hip, change it often as not to cause imbalance or added strain to one side of the body. Also, try a baby carrier or slings. These will also leave your hands free for you to get some of those odd jobs done!
Picking up and putting your baby down what seems like a hundred times a day, can put a strain on your back, neck and shoulders. The trick is to keep the baby’s weight as close to your spine and centre of gravity as possible. This will reduce the amount of pulling to the side or back. When setting your baby down to sleep, keep her close to your chest, spread your feet slightly wider than normal and bend your knees, hinge your hips back and set her down slowly. When picking her up try do the reverse. When pick your toddler off the ground bend down with your knees, take them in close to your chest and lift with your legs as if you are doing a squat. Talking about squats, this leads me on to my final tip.
Also, consider how to prevent injuries. You can help do this by strengthening the muscles that assist you in carrying or lifting your baby. Shoulders, legs, bum, tummy, pelvic floor and spinal muscles are all key muscle groups that will support you lift your baby with ease. Our trained physiotherapist can guide you in specific strengthening exercise to suit you.
Post-partum health is very important for us here in Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic. We encourage all post-partum women to book an appointment with one of our physiotherapist to guide them in regaining their strength and preventing injuries. You can book an appointment today online or call (01) 660 6582.