Back pain is a common ailment among mothers during pregnancy to childbirth. It often continues after giving birth as a result of frequent carrying, bathing, changing diapers, and breastfeeding the baby. Unfortunately, the pain may persist or worsen due to incorrect postures while caring for the newborn, potentially leading to long-term discomfort in the lower back and even spinal injuries in severe cases.
The following guidelines for spinal care are specifically designed for mothers, aiming to raise awareness of proper postures and movements when caring for their children, thereby avoiding the fate of ‘9 out of 10 mums suffer from back pain’. New fathers can also benefit from these guidelines!
Guidelines for spinal care for 6 scenarios
1. Changing nappies:
Avoid: Standing and frequently bending over with a hunched back, as this can cause prolonged tension in the lower back muscles, leading to back pain.
Recommend: Sit at the edge of the bed to change the nappies and try to extend the duration of the process. This can foster attentive care for your baby and promote parent-child interaction.
Avoid: Sitting on overly soft sofas or chairs with deep seats and leaning forward or hunching your back excessively.
Recommend: Sit on a chair or sofa with proper back support to relieve pressure on your back and waist. Additionally, use a nursing pillow to lift your baby to breast level, maintaining a straight position for your spine.
3. Lifting the baby from the cot or pushchair:
Avoid: Reaching across the cot rails or bending over excessively, or bending over directly when the pushchair is at a lower height.
Recommend: Lower the cot rails or adjust the height of the pushchair beforehand. Then, bring the baby close to your body with your legs slightly bent, and lift the baby.
4. Lifting the baby from the floor:
Avoid: Bending over directly, as this can strain your lower back muscles and potentially cause spinal joint injuries.
Recommend: Squat down, contract your lower abs, and maintain the natural curve of your lower back. Then, use the strength of your leg muscles to lift the baby and stand up, minimising the strain on your lower back.
5. Putting the baby in the car seat:
Avoid: Bending over from one side of the car, as this can strain your lower back.
Recommend: Squat down or kneel on the back seat, put the baby in the car seat, and then fasten the seat belt.
6. Lifting heavy objects:
Avoid: Bending over forward and using your lower back muscles to lift.
Recommend: Squat down while keeping your back straight, and use your leg muscles to lift. For heavy or bulky objects, consider using a back support belt or strap.
We also have to keep in mind that maintaining proper postures and having strong back muscles are keys to preventing back pain. You can fortify the support of your back by engaging in moderate exercises, stretching, and strengthening exercises for your back muscles. If the back pain persists or worsens, it is recommended to consult a doctor or physiotherapist for professional advice.
Besides back pain, what other common issues arise after childbirth?
1. Incision infection after cesarean section: The wound may get infected, causing inflammation and discomfort.
2. Mastitis: The most common cause is due to engorgement of milk within the glands because of obstruction during lactation. When the engorgement gets infected, it becomes mastitis.
3. Uterine prolapse: Engaging in strenuous physical activities or lifting heavy objects before the pelvic floor muscles has fully recovered may result in the lower abs sagging and back pain.
These are only a few of the typical postpartum diseases and issues, and every woman’s experience may differ. If you have any concerns or symptoms, please consult with a healthcare professional.
Mental health after childbirth is equally important
In addition to dealing with physical changes and pains, postpartum mothers also face the transition of their family roles and the demanding task of caring for their baby, which can sometimes leave them mentally exhausted. At this time, understanding and support from the family are crucial. New mothers can also strengthen their social support network by talking to other new parents and sharing useful information.
The arrival of a new life symbolises a new chapter of happiness for the family, but it can also bring along unprecedented challenges. As your lifelong partner, AXA is here to accompany you through different stages of life. We offer a wide range of protection, including medical and critical illness coverages, savings plans, and general insurance solutions, to help you overcome current obstacles and meet challenges with confidence, leading a better and more fulfilling life with your family.
The above content is reviewed by Dr Alexander Chiu - Chief Medical Officer of AXA Hong Kong and Macau.
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