Lower back pain

Spotlight on:

Why lower back pain

Posture and lower back pain

Aftereffects of relaxin

Managing lower back pain


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Why do I get lower back pain now that I’m a mum?

Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints amongst new mums. When I give talks at postnatal groups, I always ask for a show of hands to see how many new mums are experiencing lower back pain and it is nearly always at least half of the group. That might be anecdotal evidence but nevertheless it gives you an idea of how common a problem lower back pain is.  If you have had back trouble in the past, there is a stronger likelihood that you will get a reoccurrence of back pain now that you have a baby. For those of you who have never previously had any trouble but are now being plagued by lower back pain then the three main reasons for the onset of this problem are:

  • Lifting and carrying your baby can cause back painThe physical nature of looking after a little baby: you now spend a large proportion of your days lifting and carrying your baby, folding and unfolding pushchairs, twisting to get car seats in and out of cars, and feeding your baby. Unless you are very aware of posture and permanently conscious of using good lifting techniques, these activities place a great deal of pressure on your back and can lead to lower back pain.
  • During pregnancy your abdominal muscles inevitably became stretched and weakened so as to allow room for expansion as your baby grew. If you can imagine this, your abdominal muscles act as a sort of supportive corset which protects your back. Now that your little one has arrived and the bump has gone, you are effectively left with a loose corset which needs tightening up again, before it can start supporting and protecting your back – "my online postnatal Pilates programme is all about getting that corset in ship shape again - and until you’ve done so, your back is vulnerable."
  • During pregnancy you had higher-than-normal levels of the hormone relaxin present in your body. This causes laxity in the joints, often leading to increased joint pain, especially in the pelvic and lower back areas. Although your relaxin levels will now have returned to normal, the effects of relaxin are believed to remain in your body for approximately 6 months postpartum making you far more vulnerable to lower back pain and other joint trouble. This is yet another reason why it is so important to do the correct sort of exercise postnatally and to avoid any overstretching of the ligaments throughout your body. 

Couple these factors with the sort of yummy mummy changing bags I see you all carrying around (yes, I know, they’re essential and I love the Cath Kidston ones too!) and you are even more likely to experience lower back pain, along with tension across the mid back and the neck and shoulders. Minimise these aches and pains by claiming your FREE copy of my Mummy Backache Guide.


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Posture and lower back pain

As already mentioned one of the key underlying causes of lower back pain for new mums is linked to the physical nature of looking after a baby. When there is correct postural alignment, the spine has four natural curves and these curves not only balance each other out, but they also act as a form of shock absorber within your body – a bit like a spring. Most mothers will naturally prefer carrying their babies on one side of their body, rather than centrally, and likewise, changing bags tend to always end up on the same shoulder. Over time, this inevitably takes its toll and leads to postural imbalances. If you take a look at yourself in front of a long mirror you might be surprised, for example, to notice that one shoulder appears to be higher than the other or that one hip seems to be elevated compared to the other.
In short, this frequently translates as lower back pain or tension in the neck, shoulders and upper back region – or both.

The postnatal after effects  of relaxin

Relaxin is a hormone which does exactly what it says on the box: it relaxes the ligaments in your body so as to facilitate childbirth. Whilst this was incredibly useful on your baby’s birth day, it has its drawbacks in terms of aftereffects. Namely, there will now be a degree of laxity and instability in the joints and this, in turn, frequently causes a flare up in aches and pains, not only lower back pain, but also in knee, shoulder and other joints. So the question is what to do about it? The first good thing is that you are now aware of this potential problem and this will allow you to be more careful in terms of how your lift, carry and feed your baby but also how you exercise. You are far more likely to “do your back in” and experience lower back pain during this postnatal period and so I would like you to try and always think about how you lift your baby (try not to round the back and focus on drawing the abdominals in as you lift), how you carry your baby (centrally rather than always on one side of the body), how you position your baby when feeding (use cushions to lift your baby up rather than dropping your shoulders forwards ) and how you sit (with tall posture). This will already help your back and body. For a whole range of top tips on managing and preventing postnatal lower back pain, my FREE Mummy Backache Guide is indispensable.

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How do I manage lower back pain?

In terms of how to prevent, manage and reduce lower back pain in motherhood, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of making small adjustments to your daily life, adjustments which can potentially make an enormous difference.


To really beat back pain, there’s nothing quite like following my week-by-week online postnatal Pilates programme. Try it for FREE and see for yourself. It really does work!


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