Being a new mum is beautiful, to hold something so precious in your hands. Something of you own. However, being a new mum can put a lot of stress and strain on your body, making it harder to enjoy, the joys of parenthood. Let’s see exactly why that may be:
During pregnancy, your expanding uterus stretches and weakens your abdominal muscles and alters your posture thus putting strain on your back. Plus, extra weight means more work for your muscles and increased stress on your joints.
What’s more, hormonal changes in pregnancy can loosen the joints and the ligaments that attach your pelvic bones to your spine, which can make you feel less stable and cause pain when you walk, stand, sit for long periods, roll over in bed, get out of a low chair or the tub, bend, or lift things.
These changes don’t go away overnight. So your back may continue to ache until your muscles regain their strength and tone and your joints become less lax.
You can also end up with a sore back as the result of a long or difficult labour. During labour you may have used muscles you don’t normally use, and you’ll feel the effects for some time. (If you had an epidural, you may notice some tenderness at the site for a few days after giving birth, but it shouldn’t cause back pain.)
Just as importantly for new mums is posture during breastfeeding. Newborns will feed on average 10-12 times per day and so a lot of time is spent breastfeeding. Especially in the early days, it can be hard to get a baby ‘latched on’ and so this results in many mothers hunching over trying to encourage the child to feed by effectively taking their breast to the baby rather than bringing the baby to them. This poor position will result in significant tightness in the muscles of the chest and shoulder as muscles are held in a shortened position for extended periods during a feed. This can cause much discomfort for women who are already likely to be tired from disturbed sleep and strained from the inevitable highs and lows of being a new parent, thus making it even harder to recover from aches and pains after childbirth, including back pain.
In addition we often see mums who suffer with problems in their lower legs for a similar reason of breastfeeding posture. If the chair being used is not the right height, the temptation is to get the child up to breast level by lifting the knees and holding them in that position by being on tiptoes. When repeated time and again for the multiple feeds during each day this is likely to cause problems in the strained calf muscles and feet which can again be very uncomfortable. In this instance, if you cannot get a chair the right height then use a footrest or even books to bring your knees up higher to support the baby well whilst you maintain a comfortable position.
A good posture during breastfeeding will take these problems away so try to keep the back upright, shoulders back and feet flat on the floor (or solid support) whilst bringing the baby to your breast rather than the reverse. If there is not a chair available that allows this position, then there are aids available to buy to help this along, such as special cushions which secure yourself and bub right where you need. And for those of you who have existing back and leg pain, having a massage helps release the pain and assists in your correcting your muscles. In addition massage relaxes the body, the muscles and keeps you refreshed. After all being a mum is hard work, and you need to look after yourself as well!
For those of you who are going to become a first time mum it is also useful to know what to expect, so we hope you have found some of this helpful! Furthermore looking after yourself through out the pregnancy is a must. You can read more about what we offer in our pregnancy massages here.