As a new mom or dad, you are involved in many tasks related to newborns, such as feeding your baby, lifting and carrying them for a long time, etc. Often these strenuous activities may lead to back pain. Sometimes, they may result in herniated discs, sciatica, and more, creating a need to consult an expert spine doctor.
You may be warned about sleepless nights and diaper changes during the first few months as a new parent. But, no one might have informed you about the potential back pain that can result from carrying your baby for several hours a day.
Simple muscle sprains and strains are the most common causes of back pain among new parents. In less common cases, you might end up with a herniated disc or a serious injury. These conditions are diagnosed by a physician when back pain lasts longer than expected.
Lifting the baby in an improper posture is one of the main reasons for back pain in new parents. At first, mom and dad might have to carry a newborn weighing around 3 to 5 kilos. However, by the time they’re a year old, they need to constantly carry a baby weighing 7 to 14 kilograms.
Another possible reason for back pain is the amount of time spent holding the baby in the wrong position or posture. This ultimately creates pressure on the back muscles and leads to back pain.
Fortunately, you have several options for preventing back pain, just by making some minor changes in your daily routine and strengthening your muscles. However, in some cases, back pain may be a symptom of a more serious condition. Consult a back pain specialist if you have back pain along with the following symptoms:
- Numbness or tingling in the legs or feet for an extended period of time.
- Developing a new foot or ankle weakness
- Losing weight suddenly and rapidly.
- Increased pain that wakes you up in the middle of the night
- Having a constant fever
- Changes in the functions of the bowel or bladder
Here are some tips for new parents to prevent back pain
Lifting your baby wisely
Bend your knees and make sure you are in a squatting position when you pick up your baby from a crib, stroller, bed, car seat, or floor. Avoid bending at the waist to pick your baby up. Hold your baby close to your body with your back straight and your feet hip-width apart. Stand up by using your legs’ strength rather than your back.
You move your baby in or out of the crib more, so look for a crib with sides that can be lowered. This reduces the need to reach down too far to raise the baby every time.
Feeding your baby
Nursing mothers should choose seats that support their backs so they can sit up straight. Make sure to hold the baby near your breast while feeding instead of bending over to feed them. Use pillows to lift the baby.
Before nursing, mothers can perform certain shoulder-blade squeezes to stimulate certain muscles that provide support to their upper back.
Whenever you place a baby in and out of the high chair, remember to remove the feeding tray. It is not easy to lift your baby up and over along with the tray, and furthermore, it can strain your back.
Carrying & travelling with your baby
Although baby carriers are great for carrying your child, they can also result in back pain. If you opt for a baby carrier, choose one with wide, padded shoulder straps and a belt around your hips. This will enable you to carry the baby higher on your body and allows you to distribute the baby’s weight. In this position, you will be able to carry your child for a long time.
If possible, avoid carrying the baby on your hips, as this can put a lot of strain on your back muscles. Of course, this might be an easy method for carrying a child, but make sure to change sides to distribute the load equally.
Muscle strengthening and proper posture can prevent back pain
Moms, after delivery, can start exercising once your doctor says it’s safe for you to exercise, then begin to restore the strength of your abdominal and back muscles. Reach out to a trainer or find workout classes and videos specifically designed for new mothers to strengthen those vital muscles.
Strengthening your back muscles can significantly reduce back pain both for men and women.
Your muscles work harder to maintain your balance when you stoop or slouch. So, make sure you maintain a proper posture at all times. While this is a wise suggestion for everyone, it is even more relevant for parents who frequently carry children.
Dr. Surya Prakash is one of the top spine specialists in Hyderabad, who can provide a range of treatments for many spine and back conditions, from physical therapy to steroid injections and non-surgical to surgical treatments. If you are experiencing any sort of back pain, mild to chronic pain, call +91 9848024699 and book an appointment for diagnosis and treatment.