Mums' guide to self care 12th March 2020
We're celebrating marvellous mums this March at Stoke Chiro!
Being a mum or a mum-to-be is a tough job! Not only do you now have a little one to look after, but this puts a lot of extra stress on your body. This Mother’s Day, we’re offering some tips and tricks to reduce the stress on your body and avoid falling into pain.
During pregnancy the body needs to become more flexible and adaptable in order to accommodate for a growing baby and to prepare for labour/child birth. Changes in hormone production increase the flexibility of muscles and ligaments throughout the body, however, sometimes this increased movement can cause pain or discomfort in certain joints.
Pelvic girdle pain and symphysis pubis dysfunction are 2 of the most common areas of pain in pregnant women, with 1 in 5 women experiencing some level of pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy. Another common area of discomfort is the low back. The joints around these areas begin to loosen off to make room for the baby, however this can make them less stable and more prone to irritation. There are many things you can do to combat this in both early and late stage pregnancy:
- Even if you feel no pain in early pregnancy, begin training up your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor as these muscles can help to support your pelvis and low back.
- Generally staying active is a great way to keep bones and muscles healthy! Reduce strenuous activity such as heavy weight lifting and swap it for lighter weights, cardio or yoga!
- Calcium, Iron and Vitamin D are important for keeping mum’s muscles and joints healthy during pregnancy. Eating more beans, green veg and dairy products and taking Vitamin D supplements is a brilliant way to reduce future joint and muscle pain.
- Keep up with the lighter exercise!
- Try to wear flat, sensible shoes as heels can put extra stress around your hips and low back.
- If you’re going shopping, try to carry equal weight on both sides by splitting the shop into two bags and carrying one in each hand. A rucksack can also be a great substitute for a heavy handbag!
- Sleeping on your side with a pillow between the legs can take some of the pressure off your pelvis and low back when sleeping too.
Once the little one is born, the body’s muscles and joints can begin to tighten back up to increase their stability again. However, it can take 6 months after baby is born for flexibility to return to normal, and even longer in a breastfeeding mother. This means the body is still prone to aches and pains even after the pregnancy. In some women, the abdominal muscles can be so stretched during pregnancy that they begin to separate in the middle. There are lots of ways to avoid pain and re-strengthen the body during this time:
- Try to carry baby on both sides equally. Don’t always pick baby up of feed baby on the same side, as this can promote uneven muscle tightness and lead to dysfunction and sometimes pain in the back and pelvis.
- Keep training abdominal muscles and pelvic floor even after pregnancy! Begin lighter and build up over time to restore function and stability in these areas.
- Stay active – leave the weights at home and go for a walk or a swim instead. There are many great exercise classes available specifically for new mums, some even get baby involved too!
- Look after your breasts. Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, your breasts will be bigger and heavier than normal. Wearing more supportive bras can help take some pressure off your back whilst it adjusts to this change.
- Comfort is key – use pillows to support yourself when sitting and try not to sit in one position for too long
- Massage and even acupuncture can be great to relieve joint and muscle pain too!
Did you know?
At Stoke Chiro, we offer pregnancy massage, and our chiropractors offer treatment through all stages of pregnancy, and beyond!
* Mother's Day is Sunday 22nd March 2020 *