05 Jan The 4th Trimester
So, the hard part is over right? You’ve carried your baby for 9 months. Maybe you went through morning sickness, had heartburn, got lower back pain, couldn’t find a comfortable sleeping position, not to mention the wondrous yet annoying ways your body was physically changing- that ‘pregnancy glow’ which felt more like puffiness, pimples and swollen ankles to you. Finally the day came when your body kicked into gear and brought your little angel into the world. Apart from the never ending routine of feeding, burping and sleeping, things should be looking up!
But then… your body started to hurt in new ways. A different lower back pain, a new upper back ache, tight shoulders, and even as I’ve seen before, wrist and arm complaints. You’re tired, but you’re also now responsible for the wellbeing of a tiny human, you’ve fallen down the list of priorities for now.
This is the 4th trimester. A time where mum’s needs can fall by the wayside, and often a time that they need to have continued support and treatments that focus on them.
It begins with the most obvious and massive change- there’s no longer a baby inside of you. It’s now on the outside! Your body is now in the process of returning to its pre-pregnancy size (*cough* yeah right you say). But what I mean by this is, during your pregnancy, you put on weight, of course you did, you’re supposed to. You also had a basketball/watermelon hanging about in front of you, and now suddenly that’s gone, and your abdominals are suddenly supposed to suck you back in and help support your spine and lower back. Maybe you had some abdominal separation, which can also affect your core strength for much longer post pregnancy, as it slowly starts to heal. Not to mention those who have had a C-section, and the relative rest that’s required following that surgery.
With new requirements such as leaning over a crib and lifting, learning over a change table, lifting and moving prams and car seats we often see lower back issues arising in new mums. Responsible for these new aches and pains are the combination of these actions, with a weak core, and the looser joints in the body from pregnancy hormones. Basically- it’s easier to injure yourself.
Maybe the most common condition we see in new mums is the upper body postural strain. Think about it- how much time do you spend with a baby at your breasts? Your shoulders and arms are supporting this little miracle as they feed, and while they are you will spend a lot of time looking down at them and thinking how on earth you created the most perfect looking child. But hold on, all that looking down is placing the muscles at the back of your neck under immense strain, and setting you up for stiff and stuck joints. Here’s the catch though- you’re supposed to be doing it. It is during breastfeeding that we make a connection with our little ones. They can’t see that far yet, so the closer you are to them, the more they can learn your face. It’s totally normal, and it’s another reason why you should be getting adjusted throughout your 4th trimester, to catch these postural issues and symptoms before they build up and get worse!
As your baby grows (yay, good job you), they obviously become heavier. This makes all those activities listed above even more strenuous, as well as placing stress on your arms, wrists and hands while holding, and manoeuvring baby. I see many mums developing pectoral tightness, tennis elbow, sprains through the wrist, and even thumb issues. Let’s just call these baby induced arm pains (BIAP). Chiropractors can help you during this time by adjusting these joints and releasing the tight muscles. Sometimes it’s even a good idea to start a strengthening regime to help your body adapt to your baby’s growing body!
The 4th trimester should not be forgotten, or underestimated. It’s a huge time! Your body needs some love and attention to help combat physical changes, and not to mention a little ‘you’ time to help relax and reboot. So, just like you’ll keep up your vitamins, you should keep up the chiropractic care during your 4th trimester!
About the Author
Dr. Nadine Toussaint is one of our amazing chiropractor at Balanced Life Health Care. She is passionate about chiropractic care for all ages including during pregnancy and for kids. To find out more about Dr. Nadine click here or to book a consultation click here. For more from Dr. Nadine you can visit her personal blog here