There are certain aches and pains that are synonymous with being pregnant and being a new mum. Your body is under immense strain just caring for a newborn baby, as you go about day-to-day activities which involve lifting, carrying, winding, feeding, changing, cuddling and rocking baby to sleep.
It’s no wonder then is it, that postnatal women suffer with pain in their joints, and wake up some mornings feeling like they’re 80 years old!
Below, I’ve listed the top 5 areas where new mums feel strain, tension, a few causes pain and who you should refer yourself onto, should you have issues in those areas:
Pelvic floor – stress-incontinence (that’s where you laugh, cough or sneeze and a bit of poo or wee comes out) is quite common after birth. You may also though suffer with an urgency to urinate which is a different type of incontinence. Roughly 30% of new mums suffer with some form of it for at least 3 months after birth. If, after you’ve done pelvic floor exercises and/or postnatal-specific Pilates sessions for 3 months after birth, your symptoms of incontinence or the urgency to urinate, or you know something isn’t right “down there”, it’s time to take yourself back to your Doctor for a referral to a Women’s Health Physiotherapist who will give you a proper assessment, set you exercises to do, and get your pelvic floor health back on track. Don’t accept incontinence as “part of being a new mum”. Take charge of your own body, and if you get no joy with the first Doctor you see, ask for a second opinion.
Back pain – If I had a pound for every time a new mum came up to me after class saying “I’m getting this back pain….”, I’d be a millionaire now! Back pain is highly common for postnatal women and its causes are numerous. It could be due to all of the awkward positions you’re putting yourself in caring for your newborn, or it could be something relating to your posture before and/or during pregnancy. Your body does take time to return back to its original state after birth, and unless the strength in your pelvic floor and/or core muscles is improved, then back pain, in most cases, is there to stay. Pilates is a very safe form of exercise for new mums to perform due to its focus on the pelvic floor and the very abdominal muscles that need strengthening to keep back pain at bay. If you’re experiencing back pain that is constant, comes in and out and you feel yourself altering the way you hold or conduct yourself through fear of pain, then it’s time to get yourself checked out. Any of the top 3 medical professionals eg Osteopaths, Chiropractors and/or Physiotherapists who are Ante/Postnatal trained would be the best places to start. Ask for a referral from your Doctor, or book an appointment with them privately.
Pelvic pain – The pelvis during pregnancy goes through some pretty major shifts and changes to accommodate your baby bump and/or facilitate childbirth. Your pelvis is nowhere near as stable as it once was for the first few months after birth, hence the reason it’s important not to do too much exercise too soon and/or the wrong type of exercise. Imbalances in muscles where some become weaker, others become more dominate etc are very common in postnatal women. If you experience pain and/or discomfort at the very front of your pelvic eg your pubic bone, pain to one side of your lower back and/or hip pain, it’s time to check yourself in with an Ante/Postnatal trained Osteopath and/or Chiropractor. Again, you could ask for a referral from your Doctor, or make a private appointment.
Knee pain – Some postnatal women who’ve experienced knee pain prior to getting pregnant find that they sail through pregnancy pain-free, only to find their knee pain comes back with a vengeance after birth. Other mums however, who’ve never had knee pain previously, will start to experience it as a result of all of the kneeling, bending down and standing up again, that their knees aren’t used to. It could be over-use, it could be strain, but if the pain you’re experiencing is not intermittent, it’s constantly there, it’s time to book an appointment with a Physiotherapist. If you have pelvic and/or back pain associated with your knee pain, then I’d recommend seeing an Osteo/Chiro, because they’ll look at your body as an entire unit and make an informed opinion, based on your postural unit.
Shoulder/neck pain – Again, this is often linked to the various positions mum puts herself in during the day, and if it’s shoulder and/or neck pain you’re experiencing, it’s likely to be down to poor posture, over-use and/or poor feeding positions. If you’re straining your chin/neck forwards to see if baby is latching on correctly when they feed, it’s likely to have an impact on your neck muscles.
And there you have it. The top 5 areas where new mums feel pain with my top answers on when to see a specialist, and when just gentle exercise is the best prescription.
Fixing your posture and/or any muscular imbalances when minor pain starts to occur is better, rather than waiting until your pain or condition becomes unmanageable.
If you’d like me to give you details of an Ante/Postnatal specialist, then do get in touch. I’m more than happy to help, as you know.