- During pregnancy, hormones relax the pelvic ligaments in order to make the pelvic joints more flexible. This allows the baby to pass through the pelvis with greater ease during delivery. However, if the joints become too loose, they can cause severe back pain.
- The weight of the baby changes the mother’s posture, thereby putting tremendous strain on back muscles. This causes back pain and stiffness.
- The abdominal muscles that support the spine in maintaining good posture become loose and get stretched. In this condition, the slightest strain can lead to a chronic back injury causing severe pain.
- As the baby’s weight increases after delivery, lifting the baby, bathing, changing, and feeding all increase the load on the already strained muscles of the back. Further, the core muscles of the back have weakened and there is very little support to the spine. This adds to the pain.
- Osteoporosis associated with pregnancy is often detected during postpartum . Lack of calcium and vitamin D during pregnancy makes the bones soft and brittle. Breastfeeding further decreases the calcium stores of the body. This can lead to severe back pain and fractures of the vertebral bones.
How to Prevent Back Pain after delivery?
- Improve general fitness: Start a gentle, regular exercise program with your doctor’s approval. Begin with slow walking and later moving on to specific back and abdominal exercises. In case of a caesarian section, wait for 6 weeks to begin exercising.
- Engage the core muscles every time you get out of bed, bend, or lift weights.
- Maintain a good posture: Stand straight with the core engaged and shoulders back, as if there is a string pulling your head toward the ceiling.
- Correct way to feed the baby:
- Sit upright in a chair while feeding.
- Do not bend over the baby. Instead, bring the baby to the breast.
- Correct way to lift the baby:
- Bend at the knees, engage the abdominal muscles, and then lift the baby.
- Do not carry the baby on your hips.
- Use a baby carrier while walking for a long time, with the child supported in front.
1. Abdominal Breathing
- This can be done soon after giving birth. Inhale and hold your breath for 5 seconds to stretch the abdominal muscles. Exhale and pull the muscles in and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
2. Pelvic Floor Exercises
- These are the most important exercises and can be started immediately after giving birth, even after a caesarian section. Squeeze the pelvic muscles and try lifting them up toward the pubic bone. Initially, hold up to 3 seconds and release. Slowly, learn to hold for 10 seconds at a time.
3. Engage The Core
- Relax the abdomen. Gently, pull the muscles in toward the spine as much as you can. Do not hold your breath as you do this. Breathe in and out slowly. Hold for 5 seconds and slowly build up to 10 seconds and release. Do this before any major movement to avoid back injury.
4. Pelvic Tilt
- Keep the feet flat on the ground and bend the knees. Tilt the hips backwards, flattening the curve of the back. Keep the gluteal muscles relaxed. Hold for 10 seconds and slowly breathe in and out. Return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
Performing these exercises along with a suitable low-impact cardiovascular workout will help to strengthen the core and help you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight, thereby reducing the strain on your back. Furthermore, do remember to take your calcium and vitamin D supplements regularly. All this together will definitely prevent post-delivery back pain.
Stay strong! Stay healthy!