Lifting Tips for New Parents

Written by: Jason Jared

New parents are overwhelmed: sleeping routines, breast feeding issues, constant visitors, check-ups, and all the other stuff they had going on before their new child was born.  It doesn’t take much to figure out why we see so many new parents show up in the clinic with aches, pains, and muscle strains.  With so much going on, it is easy to forget how to properly lift or hold something to avoid hurting your back.  The problem is usually not one particular instance of lifting something improperly, but from cumulative stress and strain of repetitive movements like sitting hunched over breastfeeding or lifting your baby from the crib or out of the bathtub. 

It can be difficult to position yourself against a flat surface like a tub or crib, so you have to take a wider stance than you may think.  It helps to get as close as possible with your knees further apart and then use your arm strength to pull your baby 

to your chest before attempting to stand up.  If you simply bend at the waist and try to use your low back muscles, you are likely to cause strain, sprain, and at the very least, pain. 

Additionally, new mothers have just been through a nine month period of their body changing, center of gravity being altered, and their ligaments becoming more flexible due to increased relaxin production, which softens ligaments so that the pelvis can spread further apart in order to deliver a child.  Now, when they have to constantly lift and lower their baby, their body doesn’t respond like it would have before the pregnancy.  It actually requires retraining the core muscles to engage and protect the important joints in their pelvis and low back.  Our approach to this is called the TRIFACTIVE Method, which addresses the three most important aspects of dysfunction.  Because we activate proprioception, your brains awareness of joint position, lengthen overly tight muscles, and strengthen weakened muscles, we are able to improve both pain free range of motion, as well as stability during those movements. 

It is important to remember that being a new parent is hard work and requires practicing the proper techniques for the new activities that you are now doing every day.  Listen to your body, and get help when you need it.  Nothing is worse than having your back go into spasm and not being able to stand or hold your newborn. 

Tip:  Keep in mind that your baby’s weight is only accurate when they are held against your body.  This is known as your center of gravity, and the further away your baby is, the more weight you are lifting.    

 

Posted on February 17, 2014 at 3:04 PM