The physical burden of pregnancy, unfortunately follows high risk for more injuries for a new mom. Weakened musculoskeletal system, lack of rest and sometimes even nutrition, focusing on your new born and trying to cater to baby’s needs and depriving self from much needed recovery time are some contributing factors. Let’s look at 4 common injuries for a new mom:
Thumb sprain/ pain
Repetitively picking your little one up, can sprain your thumbs. What’s a sprain? Sprains occur when we over stretch our ligaments, since ligaments are non-contractile therefore, fiber will start tearing under excessive stress. That’s what we call a sprain. Once you sustain a sprain, your brain recognizes the injury and tells the surrounding muscles to tighten up in order to protect the area from a secondary injury. Some local massage followed by stretching, and changing the way you pick your baby up will aid in resolving your symptoms.
Shoulder and neck pain
Especially if you are Co-sleeping, hugging your little one, you are putting excessive stress on your shoulders by staying in stiff positions and feeding into bad sleeping postures. Not to mention how much stress, repetitive lifting and carrying your baby puts on your shoulders. As the day goes on, due to fatigue, and stress of multi tasking, starts being more challenging and instead of actively using our muscles, we start depending on our static stability more. Now, what is static stability? There are two types of stability in our body. Static stability is provided by static structures such as bones and ligaments. Dynamic stability is provided by moving structures such as muscles. Once muscles fatigue, we shift our dependence onto static structures. Determination in getting work done motivates our body to focus on the end result not on how we are hurting ourselves. All my super mommas know what I am talking about!
When it comes to comes to neck and back problems, they always come hand in hand. Our spine is formed of 33 bones which are all interconnected with many ligaments and muscles. If you have neck pain, it will trickle down to your back and vice versa. An over-stretched and weakened core during pregnancy, puts a new mom at a high risk to experience some sort of a back problem such as sciatica, bulging disc or simply stiffness and pain. Especially for breast feeding mom, one of the hardships of breastfeeding is the slouched posture we are put in. The result: neck and back pain. Once we start losing our natural curvatures setting off our pain receptors screaming, “I’m beyond my extensibility and I will break if you keep pushing me in that direction.” what’s the solution? Keep good posture. If you can, prefer supported sitting to unsupported siting. Benefit from a lumbar roll while in supported siting. Once you are done with breastfeeding, or at the end of the day, do couple of stretches and exercises to restore good posture.
Most pregnant moms (99%!!!) cannot wait to get back to pre-pregnancy size; a smaller waist and firmer butt & thighs after giving birth. We lose a lot of strength in our core due to the over stretching of our abdominals and we lose core stability. Even though a new mom loses about 10- 15 pounds after delivery, the million dollar question remains to be “when can I start working out again?”
Once you are discharged home, the first week you will be very busy with your newborn especially if you’re a first-time mom. Healing time frames differ for vaginal delivery versus cesarean section. If you had a vaginal delivery, you feel very sore on your bottom for about 3 weeks. If you had a C-section, you feel pain on your incision site. I am sorry to say this but after a C-section, most activities will be achy. Every time you try to sit up, get in/out of bed, reach for something etc., you will have some aches/pain that will last for about 4-6 weeks.A vaginal delivery helping time is 6 weeks where a C-section is 8 weeks. Since many women experience abdominal separation, it is advised to wait out 6-8 weeks before you start any abdominal exercises. Best exercises to focus on initially are the ones that are going to keep you up right first.
You can first start working on your mid back, shoulder stabilizers and your gluteals. These muscle groups will help you with proximal strengthening. What does that mean? These muscles will keep you upright, resist the pull of gravity and reverse the adverse effects of bad posture(s). Some shoulder exercises to perform are shoulders squeezes, wall slides, airplanes, angels and horizontal adductions. Some gluteal strengthening exercises you can do at home are clamshells, side lying straight leg kicks, squats (form is important for proper activation), butt busters and fire hydrants.
You can start in your core stabilization exercises with transversus abdominus activation(TrA). Very important ladies!! TrA is a deep stabilizer in your core that needs to be active to support a healthy good posture and protect your spine from any injury or simply prevent back pain. Waiting about six weeks on average after vaginal delivery is optimal before you start with any aggressive abdominal training that can include sit ups, crunches, reverse crunches, straight leg lowering etc. If you had a C-section, that time frame stretches to eight weeks to ensure soft tissue healing.
What exercises helped you the most to recover and get fit? Which exercises you liked? Which exercises you hated? Please comment below and let me know!
In this century, as women, we are so used to multitasking and getting everything done! We work hard and we have high standards, we are determined and we are high achievers. Falling short or not living up to our own standard is not what we can tolerate. We know what we want, how we want to it and we work hard to get it.
After giving birth, you are tired both emotionally and deprived of sleep, your body is exhausted. You also go through all different types of emotional challenges due to hormonal changes. As you are getting used to taking care of your little one, your body is trying to heal, so let others help you. I know you’re very used to doing it all on your own and you do have a strategy on how to tackle each task but this is the time YOU need some support.
Let others help you. Let your family help you. Let your friends help you. Do not feel bad. Do not think less of yourself. If someone asks, “what can I do?” give them a task as little as putting groceries away, taking garbage out, emptying or filling up the dishwasher or even starting a load of laundry. Each and every little help will add up at the end of the day and you will find yourself less frustrated, feeling more accomplished. We all know that you can do it all on your own! You know that you can do it all! Your husband knows you can do it all! This is one time that you don’t have to prove yourself so just relax, sit back and enjoy the moment. Remember this is not a marathon, it is the time to enjoy being with the family and bonding with your little bundle of joy. It is the time to get some rest and recover back to 100%. Remember it’s not just you any more and right now you have a little one that depends on you 100% of the time!
let me know what you think! I want to hear about your experience, feelings and thoughts 🙂