Pregnancy leads to some uncomfortable physical changes – but the aches and pains that come after welcoming your baby into the world, are no joke either. Back pain after childbirth is a common problem for new moms. Let’s break down the causes of postpartum back pain, and what you can do to get back in control.
What causes postpartum back pain?
Loose pelvic joints and ligaments
During pregnancy, your body produced plenty of the hormone relaxin. As the name implies, this loosens up your joints and ligaments, getting your pelvis ready for the big day.
Even though your baby is now in your arms rather than your belly, things don’t snap back to normal right away. You may experience aches and pains as your pelvic joints and ligaments return to their normal tone and your muscles get their strength back.
If you had an epidural analgesia for labor pain, you may not have been able to feel the strain of an awkward back position at the time. Now it’s worn off, you may be feeling the impact of being stuck in a bad posture. You may also experience some pain in part of your back where the epidural needle went in, though this tends to be short term.
Breastfeeding seems pretty intuitive at first, but there’s a knack to it. Many new moms inadvertently make their back pain worse by a less-than-ideal breastfeeding position. If you lean forward to be closer to your baby, you may be slouching and putting too much strain on your neck and upper back. As this strain builds over time, it can lead to more back pain.
Remedies for postpartum back pain
Support belts and belly wraps are sometimes pitched as a trendy way for new mommies to get their pre-baby silhouettes, but that’s not the only benefit. By supporting your abs and pelvis, you may be able to take some strain off your back. By encouraging a good posture, these support belts could get you some much-needed relief.
Stretching and exercises
You may not exactly feel like running marathons after giving birth: after all, your body has been through a lot lately! But after recovering from the delivery, it’s important to get moving to help restore your core and back strength.
Simple stretching exercises like 10 minutes a day of gentle yoga or pilates could be a great start for a post-baby exercise plan. Ask your doctor when it’s safe for you to start exercise again.
Warming up tired muscles can help relieve some of the tension that leads to back pain. Try applying a heat pack to the sore areas of your back for about 20 minutes at a time. You may also get some relief from a hot shower or bath.
Lifestyle tips for preventing postpartum back pain
Breastfeeding support cushion
Breastfeeding position can make a world of difference for your back. So keep your shoulder blades back and your chin tucked in for the right position, and try putting pillows on your lap so that you can hold your baby easily. Special nursing pillows are also available to support you into a good pose.
Studies suggest that a higher body weight is a predisposing factor for back pain in new moms. By enjoying a healthy, balanced diet, you can get back into a pre-baby weight range sooner, taking some of the strain off your back. Make sure you’re getting enough calcium to support healthy bones, too!
Getting enough sleep of a night can be a tall order if you’ve got a new baby who needs feeding in the middle of the night, but it’s important to rest when you can.
When you do manage to get some sleep, though, try to make sure it’s in a back-friendly position rather than an exhausted slump. Try putting a small pillow or folded towel under your lower back when you sleep.
Postpartum back pain doesn’t last forever
Back pain after delivery can be intense, but the good news it doesn’t last forever. Postpartum back pain usually goes away within 6 months after giving birth. But if your back pain is severe or doesn’t improve with home remedies, don’t hesitate to speak to your doctor. They may be able to find you the solution for your post-baby back pain.