3 Week Old Baby Still Not Back To Birth Weight Post Natal Injury Prevention

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Post Natal Injury Prevention

Common complaints for new mothers include lower back strain, shoulder and neck and arm pain, and headaches. The good news is that all of these conditions are preventable. The purpose of this article is to help you understand the cause of these symptoms and how to prevent them. Following are some tips on posture and proper lifting techniques, along with some preventative exercises.

It is important to remember that all exercises must be absolutely painless. If you experience pain while trying them stop immediately. Chances are you need some treatment, so don’t try the exercise again before you’ve sought medical advice.

Injury prevention

The time when you are most susceptible to back injury in particular is in the weeks after giving birth. The abdominal and pelvic muscles and ligaments are tight and weak, dramatically reducing the core stability that protects your back as you bend over repeatedly to lift your babies and toddlers, and perform your normal household tasks.

The first thing you need to learn is how to contract your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles before you lift your child, and keep them contracted while you lift and while you carry them. Strengthening these muscles will protect your back and reduce the incidence of bladder problems.

The Exercises

You can do this while standing, sitting or lying down, or even while walking. You will probably remember the pelvic floor exercises from postpartum care in hospital. These are the muscles that prevent the flow of urine. Squeeze these muscles now so you can feel the contraction inside. Try to keep them in contraction as long as possible. It is not uncommon for you to have difficulty feeling this contraction shortly after birth, but it is very important that you keep trying. At first they may feel very weak and you may only be able to hold the contraction for a few seconds. Work up to holding for a full minute, this may take several weeks to complete. Practice the exercise several times a day.

The next stage is to begin to increase your awareness of the interaction between the internal pelvic floor muscles and the abdominal muscles. Contract internally again and keeping those muscles tight, move your focus to the area between your pubic bone and navel. Slowly contract this area until you feel your navy sink to your spine and your waist shrink. This is called “bracing”.

In the weeks and months after the birth it is absolutely essential that you practice this exercise several times a day. I suggest you try to build to 10 in a row. These are the muscles you should contract before you attempt any activity that requires bending or lifting.

A major cause of back pain is incorrect lifting techniques of your baby.

The next time you go to lift your baby out of the crib, notice your posture; if your feet are close together, you’ll be forced to bend over more to reach the baby, your arms will be stretched away from your body, and as you pick up your squirming baby, you’ll put a huge strain on your back. Take time to notice if you are also twisting from the hips – this will cause pain in the muscle between your hip and ribs. Notice your head and neck, there should be no tilting or rotation of your head as this will lead to neck pain and headaches.

Correct lifting techniques

Taking the baby from the crib

Before you try to lift your baby from the bed, spread your legs and feet wide, with hips and knees slightly bent, as if you were sitting on a horse. Have your thighs resting against the edge of the bed. Tighten your abdominal muscles as above, and lower yourself by bending your legs so that you are closer to the baby. As you catch him, pull him closer to you without lifting him, until your arms are close to your torso. Now make sure the abdominal muscles are tight, and gently lift and pull the baby towards your body, using your legs not your back to straighten up.

Raising little children

Always bend at the knee, get down to their level, stretch the abdomen and bring the child closer to your body, then lift with your legs. Lifting toddlers in and out of cars usually requires some incredible twists. You can reduce the risk of injury by keeping your legs bent, back straight and your head, arms hips and feet all pointing in the same direction. Try to keep the child’s body as close to yours as possible and maneuver yourself as close as possible to the child seat before placing them in it.

Neck and Arm Pain

You may have experienced a strange discomfort ranging from a toothache like pain in your arm to tingling, numbness or weakness. This can come from a combination of poor lifting techniques and your posture while breastfeeding.

Again, notice your posture while feeding the baby. Tension in your neck and shoulders can be from supporting the weight of the baby, and tend to tilt your head as you watch it suck. This distorted position will lead to muscle tension. Nerve impingement can arise from muscle and connective tissue pressing on the nerve, or from poor alignment of the skeleton, and this can cause the arm pain and other symptoms I mentioned. If you have any of these symptoms, then you should seek treatment to avoid more serious injury.

To prevent these injuries, you need to experiment with the way you support the baby. Try placing them on an extra pillow so you’re not supporting their weight, and once they’re in place, avoid prolonged bending and rotation of your neck.

Exercises for upper back and shoulder tension

First, watch your posture. Stand in front of a mirror, try to stand as you normally would. Ideally your shoulders should be relaxed and not raised. The rounded tops of your upper arm (humerus) should be sitting flat and not forward of your collarbone. Your palms should be facing the side of your thigh, with your thumbs roughly in line with the seam of your pants or skirt.

It’s very rare that I see this ideal pose, so let’s assume you’re perfectly normal and could do with a little help in this department!

Shoulder Rolls

Stay in front of the mirror.

1. Bring your shoulders to your ears, as high as possible. Remember this

should be pain free.

2. Then press your shoulders back as if you are trying to reach them

to touch

3. The next step is essential; relax your shoulders and imagine your shoulders

gradually sliding down your ribs. Let gravity do the work. Look at the top of your shoulders in the mirror, you should see that they are completely relaxed. Don’t be tempted to use these muscles to push the shoulders down.

4. Once the shoulders are relaxed into place, imagine that you will now take them as far as possible, look in the mirror again. The movement should come from the shoulders, not the arms, and again, the upper shoulders should be relaxed and not raised. As you separate your shoulders, arch your mid to upper back, imagine lifting this section of your spine back and up until you feel a good stretch between the shoulder blades. If you like, you can hold this position for 30 seconds.

That completes one full shoulder roll, now you can start over, repeat at least six repetitions several times a day.

Posture Correction Exercise for the Neck and Shoulders

This involves the first three steps of the shoulder rolls.

1. Raise your shoulders to your ears again.

2. Push shoulders back, and relax.

3. Allow the shoulders to slide along the ribs into a resting position. This time, keep them in that position, that is, don’t let your shoulder roll forward.

Now you will probably feel your neck hanging forward, so let it relax back to its new center of gravity. You will also feel like you are sticking out your chest. This is probably because the pectoral muscles are tight. Make sure you are not sticking your belly out, if you are, relax your pelvis and spine. This should reduce any strain in your back, and to some extent, your chest. It will take some time for this new attitude to feel normal. What you should feel is reduced tension in your neck and upper shoulder, while the muscles between your shoulders should be gently contracted. This too will feel unnatural for a while because these muscles are not used to working for a living!

When you should seek advice

I believe in the old adage that prevention is better than cure. This information is designed to help you maintain a pain-free status. If you are already experiencing pain or discomfort, you may need to seek treatment. Most people put up with pain for too long, believing it will go away. In reality, the longer you’ve had pain, the longer it will take to resolve. As a rough guide, if pain persists, worsens or recurs after 3 days, then it is advisable to seek treatment, to prevent the condition from becoming chronic. Remember that pain relievers treat the symptoms not the cause of pain. Persistent symptoms should be investigated. Most muscle pain is easily remedied with therapeutic massage, but it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor first.

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