(HealthNewsDigest.com) – Being a mother to a new baby means you have a lot going on, whether you are a first time mom or you’ve been down that road before, the 4th trimester is a time to slow down, settle into a new routine, and care for not only your baby but yourself as well. Your body worked hard to get your baby here and focusing on a few small and simple ways to support your body in recovery is important. Back pain after pregnancy is a common issue that mothers face, so let’s talk about some ways you can support your body so back pain doesn’t keep you from focusing on what matters most during this time.
What you can do to help back pain after pregnancy
1. Reconnect to important parts of your body
Your body has been pretty busy for the better part of the last year growing a human (no big deal right?!) and regardless of how much you exercised during your pregnancy (no feeling guilty allowed, no matter what, you did an incredible job) there is vital reconnecting that needs to happen postpartum.
Your body is a dynamic system that is all interconnected. Back pain after pregnancy is not just an isolated issue with your back, the entire system needs to be addressed. For new moms the core, pelvic floor, and glutes need some TLC. Yes, they need to be strengthened but before you strengthen a muscle you need to be connected to it. How can you strengthen a muscle your mind is not talking to? You can’t!
First step, reconnecting to these muscles through gentle activation. This is perfect for the 4th trimester as well because you are not going to be jumping straight back into a gym routine, but you can support your body through movement (more on that in just a minute).
Core and Pelvic Floor Reconnection
Your core and pelvic floor are a dynamic duo that work hand in hand. They both went through quite a lot during pregnancy and birth, and are absolutely in need of some love and care! Here is an exercise you can do to start to gain that connection back to:
- Elevator Lifts
- First check in that you know HOW to engage your pelvic floor – do that HERE and HERE. Now that you have that basic refresher we are going to take it a step further. You are going to imagine that your pelvic floor is an elevator. An elevator has different levels – it can move up, it can move down, and when not in use it sits on a lobby level… just like your pelvic floor! The purpose of this exercise is to tune into how well you can currently connect to your pelvic floor and begin to improve that connection. Check out how to do these here: https://youtu.be/T12ypl1DC08
- Glute Activation
- Your glute muscles (aka your butt!) play a vital role in pelvic floor health and in supporting your lower back. For many mamas who experience back pain after pregnancy, weak glutes and poor glute recruitment play a role. First step, waking those glute muscles up with some activation exercises!
Why not give these exercises a try? https://youtu.be/DSeyt8BmwE4
2. Walking Daily
Never underestimate the power of walking! For so many, walking seems like the yellow starburst that no one wants to eat unless all the pink starbursts are gone – it is a ‘last resort’ exercise. Now is the time to turn that mindset around! Walking IS the pink starburst and should be a ‘go to’ exercise!
Walking is a functional and foundational movement, we need to walk. Our bodies need it and our minds need it! Especially postpartum, walking has countless benefits. Back pain after pregnancy can be tied to less movement – you are physically recovering from birth (C-section mums make sure you check THIS post out) so your activity level is less than normal, you are sitting down to feed your baby a lot, and daily hustling and bustling about is less during this time. This can lead to aches and pains (especially back pain) because your body was made to move.
Start walking as soon as you feel you can after birth. Your walks at first will most likely be a very short distance and very short in time, that is great, this is not a race! Build up slowly. Make it a goal to walk to the end of your driveway and back. Next, set your sights on walking around your block. As you start to feel up for it add more time, more distance, and different scenery to your walks.
HERE is a great read that goes more into guidance for making the most of your walks.
3. Move better
It is important to consciously support your body better during this time. Quality of movement matters, especially to help back pain after pregnancy and help in overall postpartum healing. The way you lift things up (tiny humans and stuff!), changing positions (getting out of bed, standing up etc), positions during feeding (breast and bottle!), and more!
For some quick tips on moving better watch this: https://youtu.be/5-CRtNU_lxs
The thing you took for granted for far too many years before motherhood, that is now the rarest most precious resource on the planet. Sound relatable?! Sleep matters. Plain and simple. To help your body feel its best (goodbye back pain) you need rest.
Some things in life and motherhood are negotiable and some are non-negotiable.
Please make this a priority, during healing and recovery you need good rest. I know it can feel impossible but do everything you can to make the time to rest.
5. Additional support if needed
We all just need some extra support at times! Yes, social support but no that is not what I am talking about right now (but after you finish reading this, pick up your phone and call a loved one. Be open and honest about how you are doing and take a few minutes to connect with another grown adult!).
The kind of support I am talking about right now is physical support. Remember that disconnect we talked about? The need to strengthen and activate weak muscles? Back pain after pregnancy is not something you should just suffer through. Sometimes having some gentle support as you carry your baby, lift things, and go through your day can make the world of difference.
Support through special kinds of postpartum garments are a great option (many options out there in the form of leggings, shorts, tank tops) or a binder can also add some needed support and stability. Let’s be very clear about something here though – this is NOT about wearing a binder tight to improve the appearance of your tummy. Wearing tight binders can actually have a negative impact on core and pelvic floor help and is not a true solution for diastasis recti, more on that HERE. The kind of support recommended here is a gentle support for physical needs, worn when needed as you work on recovering and strengthening.
No overwhelm needed, just focus on what you can!
The 5 principles we have covered can truly make a difference if you are experiencing back pain after pregnancy, but don’t feel that you have to do them all. Don’t let overwhelm keep you from taking action! Just pick 1 to start with. Which out of the 5 tips do you feel will make the most impact, the fastest, for you personally? Start there. When you feel you got that one down, add another!
You are doing so great mama!
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