Suggestions For New Mothers
By Nancy A. Melville, HealthScoutNews
One of the heaviest burdens facing a new mother is the endless
task of having to lift her child -- from the crib, from the tub,
from the car seat, wherever.
new moms are lifting seven to 10 pounds 50 times a day. And, by
12 months, they likely chasing and lifting a 17-pound child,"
says Dr. Alan M. Levine, an orthopedic spine surgeon in Baltimore.
"Two years later, mothers will be lifting a 25-pound to 30-pound
would seem logical that a mother's muscles would strengthen with
the gradual increase of a child's weight, it's not that easy.
often need to be lifted from hard-to-reach places, for instance,
says Dr. Joel Press, medical director of the Center for Spine,
Sports and Occupational Rehabilitation at the Rehab Institute
of the biggest problems we see in lifting kids is all of the awkward
positions you need to get yourself in. For instance, picking them
up from the far end of the crib in the middle of the night or
lifting them out of a car seat," Press says.
complicating matters even further is the fact that these kids
are squirming all over the place," he adds. "It's not
nearly as easy as picking up, for instance, a 20-pound box."
It's a perfect
prescription for problems ranging from pulled muscles to chronic
So until the
day comes when your baby is able to move about on his or her own,
what's a mother to do?
want to practice proper back and body mechanics," Press says.
"That means understanding how to lift -- to bend at the knees
and keep the back flat."
And it's crucial
to carry the child close to your body, he adds.
about it -- if you're holding a 10-pound bowling ball straight
out away from your body, it's a lot harder than holding it closer
to your body," Press says.
recently discussed the subject at a meeting of the American Academy
of Orthopedic Surgeons in New York City, offers these additional
tips to new mothers for avoiding back pain:
- Start exercising
soon after delivery, to restore abdominal and back muscle tone.
Ten minutes of stretching exercises on the floor each day will
restore hip and back flexibility. This can be done when the
baby is napping.
- Try to
get back to your normal weight within six weeks after giving
- Don't stretch
your arms out to pick up your baby. Bring him close to your
chest before lifting. And avoid twisting your body.
- To pick
a child up from the floor, bend at your knees, not at your waist,
then squat down, tighten your stomach muscles and lift with
your leg muscles.
the high-chair tray when you're trying to put the baby in or
take the baby out of the chair.
- When taking
a baby from the crib, put the crib side down and pull the baby
toward you, rather than lifting her up and out.
using a front pack to carry the baby when you're walking.
- Don't carry
a child on your hip; this strains the back muscles.
- To avoid
upper back pain from breastfeeding, bring the baby to your breast;
don't bend over to the baby. And sit in an upright chair rather
than a soft couch.
vehicles are better than two-door ones for placing the baby
in the car seat, which is often positioned in the middle of
the back seat. Don't stand outside the car while reaching in
and, at arm's length, placing the baby in the seat. Instead,
you should first kneel on the back seat, then put the baby in
the car seat.
Do: For more information, visit the American Academy of Orthopaedic
How to Prevent Back Pain Web site. And the North American
Spine Society offers a useful
Back Quiz for Women.
Reference Source 101