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Oh, my aching back!

This is an all-too-common complaint from new moms - and dads. Weight, core muscle condition, fatigue and the tasks associated with a new baby all add to the problem. Let's look at each and see what you can do to minimize the discomfort - and protect your back!

Be realistic about weight loss

Added weight puts more strain on your back. However, be realistic with your weight loss goals. When you have your baby - you are not going to instantly return to pre-pregancy weight. And, don't get discouraged by the quick return to fitness by some celebrity moms. (They most likely have personal trainers and lots of help!)

The time it takes to lose the weight varies from person to person. It can take from 3 months to a year for most moms to lose the weight from pregnancy. Some take even longer.

Fatigue

Most new parents are sleep deprived. Prioritize napping when your child is sleeping. Ask for help - friends or family members can watch baby for an afternoon and give you hours of actual, uninterrupted sleep. Lack of sleep has a very real affect on your body. You are less alert. You are more prone to negative emotions. And, more back injuries happen when you are tired than when you are well rested and focused.

Safe lifting

You know to lift a heavy box holding it close to your body and lifting with your legs. However, new parents don't always look at lifting the baby in the same way. Try to bend when you pick up your child. Avoid reaching too far when you lift your baby from a crib or carseat. Adjust an baby furniture you can to make lifting easier. Kneel or sit down next to something which is close to the floor.

Core muscle condition

When you are pregnant, your abdominal muscles are stretched. Your abdominal muscles are directly tied to your back and if these muscles are weak, back pain may result. You might work with a physical therapist or trainer to target weakened muscles. Check with your provider to be sure exercizing is safe for your body and your situation.

If your pain does not improve - see your doctor. There may be treatment or exercise your provider can offer based on your specific situation.

Carolee Jones, MD

Methodist Physicians Clinic Women's Center

Dr. Jones answers your questions about pregnancy, labor and delivery. Dr. Jones loves being an OB-GYN because she can share the birth experience with her patients and their families and she can also help patients with overall women's health issues which may include surgery, such as laparoscopy or robotic surgery. Dr. Jones strives to involve the patient and her family in her care by partnering with them. She respects her patients and their goals for their health.   ...

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