Top Tips for Managing Knee Pain After Birth

Top Tips for Managing Knee Pain After Birth

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Your day-to-day activities as a new mum such as climbing stairs, pushing your buggy, feeding/lifting/changing, entertaining and/or bathing your baby all put pressure on your knees, so it’s no wonder postnatal women suffer with knee pain.


Several postural changes occur during pregnancy, and sadly, things doesn’t just bounce back to normal once baby has arrived.  Motherhood is a pretty physical business, isn’t it?  I believe it’s one of the most demanding jobs in the world, and it places a tremendous amount of strain on your muscles and joints.  You’re also expected to just “grin and bear it” and “get on with it” pretty much as soon as you’ve given birth, and one if your body is still in recovery-mode, it’s no wonder something takes the strain.


Here are some of the common tasks new mums undertake each day, with a few notes on how to make knee pain associated with them, manageable:



If you’re sitting down to feed on a sofa for example, your knees are likely to be in a flexed position until baby has finished feeding.  Ever noticed that when you do get to stand up after a particularly long feeding session that your knees almost give way underneath you?  Or, they’re very painful, due to lack of circulation?  The solution: after you’ve finished feeding, pull up your pelvic floor muscles, bring baby towards your chest, stand up slowly and move around to wind your baby.



When climbing stairs, try to place the whole of your foot on the step and use your glutes (your bum) to power yourself up to the next step.  Rather than using your over-worked/weakened knees to do the task, use your bum instead by pushing through the heel of your foot.



Wherever possible, change your baby in a standing/upright position at a changing table that’s at waist height.  If your changing area is higher or lower than your waist, then you’re likely to over-stretch your shoulders/neck or pull your back.  Get out of the habit of changing your baby’s nappy kneeling down on the floor, because this puts pressure on your knee joints and when you stand back up again, this is often when you feel pain.



When bathing your baby, avoid kneeling for excessive periods and place a rolled up towel under your knee joints to help ease the activity.  Knee caps (your patella) aren’t really designed to be in a kneeling position for prolonged periods.  If it is possible for you to bath your newborn baby in a upright position where you’re standing, rather than kneeling, then this is obviously going to save your knees an awful lot of pain too.



To avoid knee pain when picking your baby up off the floor, reach down for your baby using a shallow, split-stance where one foot is slightly in front of the other.  I call this a “Curtsey” in my postnatal exercise classes.  Make sure you bring baby close to you, pick up your pelvic floor, and then slowly stand up with baby held on your chest.  Basically, I want you to think before you move from the floor to standing, especially when lifting your baby off the floor, because this will help protect your knees and your back.


The important thing to stress here is: if you’re experiencing pain that doesn’t go away, it’s time to seek some advice from a professionally trained expert.  Whilst some pain is normal, discomfort for extended periods of time after birth isn’t, and it needs sorting asap.

For  a step-by-step downloadable guide on what exercises you need to do to help manage knee pain after birth, click here.

Do you suffer with knee pain from constantly stepping down to the floor to pick up your newborn? Learn exercises that help strengthen the knees at my Mummies and Buggies Postnatal Fitness class 


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Claire Mockridge
Claire Mockridge is an Ante/Postnatal Fitness Expert, Pilates Teacher and Train-the-Trainer. She's worked with over 1000+ pregnant and postnatal women and enjoys empowering and educating her clients on safe and effective exercise. Claire is a Health Columnist for the Nottingham Evening Post, a Health Expert for BBC Radio Nottingham, regularly writes for the national press and is the Winner of Theo Paphitis' Small Business Sunday Award.


  • By Dr Sana shafique 14 Dec 2015

    Very helpful.Thankyou

  • By Alexandra 25 Sep 2018

    I have definitely fell subject to knee pain due to carrying my daughter. Thank you for explaining some tips to mitigate the wear and tear. Thanks!

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