You’ve just completed one of the most physically taxing (and emotionally rewarding) experiences of your life: growing and delivering a healthy, happy baby. While most of the symptoms associated with pregnancy quickly disappear after delivery, there is one common annoyance that follows many women into their postpartum days: back pain. Back pain can put a damper on the time you spend with your little one, but understanding the causes of this discomfort can help you reduce its effects.
What Causes Postpartum Back Pain(And What Can You Do About It)?
Your body accomplished some amazing feats while you were pregnant. Your muscles stretched and moved out of the way to accommodate your growing uterus while your joints relaxed to help ease your baby’s passage during your delivery. As they stretched, your muscles became weaker, negatively impacting your posture and straining your back. Furthermore, loose joints may have left you feeling unstable, causing additional pain.
These stretched muscles and loose joints won’t snap back to their former state overnight. Instead, they need time after your baby is born to regain their strength. During this time you may continue feeling the discomfort that was so familiar while you were pregnant. You can give your muscles a head start back to their former strength by exercising as soon as your doctor gives you the okay.
Having a new baby presents you with a variety of tasks that place stress on your lower back. Instead of conveniently riding along wherever you go, your little one is now dependent on you to pick her up whenever she needs something. Picking up an eight-pound infant fifty times a day can stress your back, leading to more pain.
Your baby is only going to get bigger and heavier, so it’s important to focus on smart lifting habits as soon as possible. To lessen the impact on your back, bring your baby close to you when picking her up rather than stretching your arms straight out. When picking her up from a low surface, bend at your knees rather than your waist. Finally, avoid standing outside your car to remove your child from her car seat. Instead, kneel on the back seat to get closer and put less strain on your back.
Breastfeeding is an excellent choice for both mother and child, but mothers may be so focused on finding the right latch that they neglect their posture while nursing. Bending over your baby during feedings can strain both your back and your neck, so be cognizant of your positioning before you allow your child to latch. Bring your baby to you rather than bending down to his level and be sure to sit in a chair that offers you plenty of support.
If you are experiencing postpartum back pain, know that you are not alone. Many women experience this discomfort for weeks or even months after they deliver. Fortunately, regular exercise and staying conscious of your posture can help keep your back from coming between you and your new baby.