How to Look After Yourself Pre + Post Pregnancy

Becoming a mother and starting a family can be one of the most amazingly crazy experiences of your life. With Mother’s Day approaching quickly one our experienced Osteopath’s at Williamstown Health + Lifestyle Gabrielle and mother of Jordan wanted to give all the new mothers and mothers to be a little advice on how to manage the changes to your body.

So you’ve found out your pregnant… Congratulations! If this is your first time, your journey of discovery to growing a baby is going to be an eye-opener. If you’ve been there, done that, you’ll know what’s ahead but that doesn’t mean your pregnancy, delivery or how your body ‘bounces back’ will be the same.

One thing is for certain that every mother told me before I had a child… your body is never the same after having children. So why do we go through it not knowing how we will come out the side? Well as a mother I know that maternal urge to want a little person that’s all my creation and the sweet things they do just melts your heart. In those moments all pain and suffering don’t count….. Until you need to pick them up or put them in the car and that lower back pain that’s been building up starts screaming at you again.

I’m here to let you know that your journey through pregnancy and beyond need not be endured with pain and discomfort. Getting manual therapy with Osteopathy, Physiotherapy or massage can help get you through! It sure helped me especially practising as an Osteopath here in Williamstown and having a physical job to do all day.

What happens to your body during pregnancy?

Throughout your pregnancy, your body undergoes many rapid postural and hormonal changes as your baby grows. The change in increasing load of carrying your baby places stress onto your joints, ligaments, muscles and organs and especially on any pre-existing conditions.

The most common complaints and associated issues that come with pregnancy are:

  • Lower back pain
  • Hip pain
  • Pelvis pain
  • Sciatic pain
  • Headaches
  • Pelvic instability
  • Leg cramps
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Rib pain

With manual therapies, these issues can be addressed safely and effectively to ease the discomfort so that you walk, move, sleep, work and care for your other children better.

The number of treatment sessions needed will vary depending on the presentation of the pain:

  • Is it an old issue that’s been aggravated or is it new
  • How quickly your body responds to treatment
  • Other external factors that may be aggravating it eg. your work conditions, stress, not being able to exercise as much as you used to

Being pregnant you worry about your baby’s development, you have more time to focus on yourself (if it’s your first child) to get treatment and have some time out.

Then everything changes!

One of the keynotes that were brought up in my local mother’s group was “Who is number 1 in your family?”. Of course all the mothers present responded,” Well the baby is number 1”. To which the council parent support worker replied,” No, YOU are number 1 in your family. If you are not well mentally, physically and emotionally you cannot care for anyone else.”

As an Osteo practitioner for 16 years throughout Melbourne, I have seen this many times where a new mother comes in for treatment  (finally!) having managed to make it to the appointment. Thinking that their body is still “like how it was pre-pregnancy” the pain and niggle they’re experiencing with nursing a newborn won’t go away and is becoming unbearable each time the lift, carry or feed their baby. Finally, they make the decision to “look after mum”.

Post Pregnancy musculoskeletal complaints

Now the baby has arrived! YAY! A beautiful bundle of joy! What do you expect now to happen to your body?

Lower back and Pelvic Pain

For some women they may experience pelvic or lower back pain from the birthing process regardless of whether it was a natural delivery or a cesarean section. This is because some women labour for many hours, placing pressure on their bodies before the decision of a cesarean section is made.

Your back has less abdominal and core muscular support due to abdominal separation and the changes that have happened over the past nine months so this pre-disposes it to strain more easily than it would have pre-pregnancy.

TIP: Wear supportive pregnancy recovery shorts

Upper Back and Neck Pain

All of a sudden your body has changed gear. Instead of the extra baby weight being down low in your abdomen, your body is having to adjust to carrying the baby’s weight in your arms. The repetitive nature of lifting, holding and feeding a baby every day now places a strain through your neck, shoulders and upper back.

Your head will tend to always be “looking down” at your baby. For every centimetre your head moves forward from your midline or shoulders, the load placed on your neck joints and muscles also increases causing pain and discomfort over time.

Tips on how to reduce the stain to your neck:

  • When feeding your baby use a feeding pillow
  • While feeding don’t look at your electronic devices or extended periods of time with your head ‘down”
  • When out and about use a carry-sling or pram instead of holding your baby

Lastly come into Williamstown Health + Lifestyle local to South Melbourne for an Osteopathic, Physiotherapy or Myotherapy treatment to:

  • Ease the pain
  • Reduce joint restrictions
  • Reduce fatigue from the pain and limited movement
  • Help you sleep better…. And new mums need as much as they can get!!

We look forward to assisting you so you can get back to enjoying being with your baby. Book your appointment online today!