Backpain can start early in pregnancy and can be triggered by injuries from years ago, together with changing hormones. As the pregnancy continues postural imbalances can aggravate this. But it can be dismissed by midwives. I remember one woman coming into my clinic room on crutches and in a great deal of pain. Unfortunately her midwife told her, “you’re pregnant, pregnant women have backache, you just have to it live with it.” After a couple of sessions, she no longer needed the crutches and her pain was significantly reduced. It is distressing to think how many pregnant women are putting up with backache because they know no better. Practitioner Tanya Shoop who is an Alexander Technique teacher offers some tips for pregnant women and new mums on how to ease or avoid back ache.
Developing good posture
It is essential to develop good postural habits early on in pregnancy to help avoid back pain. Picture a mum-to-be with a bump who is arching her back forward to ease the lower back niggles. That’s not ideal and there are far better ways to support the back.
Pause and observe your own sitting, standing, bending and walking. You can then stop unhelpful habits and tensions and to move with less effort and greater ease. Breathlessness can get tricky, especially during the latter stages. Slumping in the torso restricts breathing, so don’t slouch over your desk and in other situations. By developing and keeping a strong back, it supports the changing weight of the bump.
The earlier in your pregnancy you start to adopt good posture the better it will be -– ideally from 3 months.
Tip 1: Don’t arch your back. Whilst this may give some temporary relief, it will put a strain on your lower back over time.
Tip 2: Think up. Start with a grounded connection for your feet and then think all the way up through your body to the crown of your head. It’s a thought rather than a stretching action and helps with balance, poise and breathing.
Tip 3: Don’t slouch. When sitting, especially in the last trimester, ensure your hips are slightly higher or at the same height as your knees. This stops the pelvis curling back into a slump. It also encourages the baby to get into the optimal foetal position (ie with head down and not having baby’s spine by your spine)
Tip 4. Crawl. Once the bump starts developing, crawl or rock on all fours every day. It takes the pressure off your back and also creates a bit more space for the baby by counteracting any arching of the back.
Tip 5. Quiet time. Being pregnant doesn’t mean life slows down and there is a lot to think about and prepare for. Take some quiet time every day for yourself. Spend that time being mindful of your whole body and let the busy thoughts pass through without focussing on them. Allow yourself to breathe freely.
Once the baby is born
There’s so much to adjust to when a new baby comes into the world, that mums (and dads) can forget to think about their own bodies. And this can cause havoc with their backs. It can also be quite stressful and emotional. Seek help. Have acupuncture but also educate yourself to protect your back. Contact Tanya Shoop for further help.