When you’re running around after a two-year-old child, the health of your body is probably the last thing on your mind. It’s easy to dismiss niggly aches and pains as just one of those things. Besides, you’re far too busy to get yourself checked out.
But then something breaks, you find yourself in a pickle and call us.
It’s a situation we see time and time again in our practice, especially in new mums with lower back and hip strains, shoulder and wrist problems.
One of the reasons for this is the effect of the hormone relaxin, which is released by the brain during pregnancy. Its role is to soften and open the ligaments between the muscles to allow room for the baby to grow but an unfortunate consequence is that it becomes very easy to stress vulnerable parts of the body and it can take at least six months following the birth of the baby for things to settle down.
In fact, mothers often come to us to help relieve the shooting, stabbing or burning sensations they feel when walking up and down the stairs, standing on one leg or sitting down, which is often the result of Pelvic Girdle Pain.
With this in mind, we’ve rounded up 4 things you should avoid when lifting your child.
LOCKING OUT YOUR KNEES
When you’re tired and it’s the middle of the night it can be very easy to forget how to lift properly but locking out your knees will put unnecessary pressure on the lower back and stop you from maintaining a neutral spine. You’re especially vulnerable at this time because of the hormonal situation. Remember to flex the knees slightly when lifting your child and keep the elbows soft and close to the body.
HAVING A FAVOURITE HIP
Whether we’re right-handed or left-handed we all have a favourite side and chances are you’ll pop your toddler on the hip that feels most comfortable for you. The trouble with this is that it causes tremendous strain on one side of the body, which stress the soft tissues, ligaments. Before long you'e in extreme pain. Mix up the hips and remember to keep the elbows soft and chest high to avoid neck pain while lifting your son or daughter.
FEEDING FROM ONE SIDE
It’s the middle of the night, the baby is hungry again and posture is the last thing on your mind but a designated feeding station can help. Try to have a nursing seat or bench with cushions propped either side of you so that you’re in a balanced position. Also, avoid only feeding from one side which can result in a build-up of muscle tension and cause headaches and shoulder pain down the line.
SPINNING TOO MANY PLATES
This is easier said than done but I know many mums who try to do it all. Repeatedly balancing a baby on the hip with a car seat in one hand and a feeding bag in another is asking for trouble and your body won’t thank you for it in the long run. When it comes to lifting your baby in and out of the pram, pushchair or car seat try to perform just one task at a time. This will offload stress on potentially vulnerable areas.
Did you know that we offer a dedicated osteopathy and postnatal care service for new mums?
You can read more about it here:
If you’ve been struggling with aches and pains since the birth of your child why not book an appointment with one of our specialist osteopaths today.
Simply call reception on: 0208 662 1155.
Our pilates team also offers pre and postnatal care and we can provide comprehensive programmes to help you through these difficult times and help your body return to its pre-baby state.