Us Physiotherapists can be a bit of a broken record when it comes to posture, but it really is one of the most important things to be aware of. There are so many physical issues that can stem from poor posture. Here we explore some of the most common causes of pain caused by poor posture in new parents and how to avoid them:
- When you're feeding, ensure that you are set up in a suitable chair with the baby well supported and brought up to your body, rather than you hunched over to them. Try not to look down all the time (hard, I know!) as this overloads the cervical spine. Keep your shoulders down and back. Also ensure your lower back is well supported by cushions or a lumbar roll which will help maintain a good lumbar curvature. Make sure the chair you spend most of your time in is supportive, particularly important as new parents bodies need to adjust to doing a lot more sitting around.
- Standing posture is also worth thinking about if you find you are spending a lot of time standing while feeding or settling a baby. Try to keep your shoulders back and lower back in a neutral position. Pull in your low tummy muscles to help support your lower back.
- Avoid carrying a baby on the same hip all the time as this causes the hip to swing out to the side, loading up the gluteal tendons and hip joint. Even when you have got your little one on your hip, try to maintain even weight between both legs.
- Using appropriate equipment can help such as a bath with a stand at the right height that can prevent unnecessary load on your back. Also ensure change tables are at a good height for you as there are plenty of nappies to change!
- Take care with lifting prams in and out of cars. These are generally awkward and involve lifting and twisting which is a common mechanism for injury. Also think about how you lift capsules and small children in and out of the car.
- For mums, returning to exercise also increases the load on our bodies and should be something taken on gradually and gently. Impact or high load exercise causes increased load on the pelvic floor which will already be stressed from the pregnancy and delivery. Your hormones also take time to settle post delivery, which means that you will have less stability in your joints and looser ligaments than normal. This can increase the risk of injuries, so returning to activities such as running should be taken gently and often with guidance from your Physiotherapist.
If you have any concerns about any of these areas, your Physiotherapist is a great source of information and helpful tips. And for new mums out there, our women's health Physiotherapist is also a fantastic resource for any pelvic floor queries or concerns. Remember to look after yourself as you are only able to look after your child if you are injury free.