Pregnancy and child care

During pregnancy the joints and ligaments in the area of the back and pelvis become more lax (due to hormonal changes) in preparation of the birth of the baby, making a pregnant woman more prone to pain and back injury. A pregnant woman’s posture is affected by adapting to compensate for the effect of the added load of the growing baby at the front of the body. There is a tendency to arch the back and slightly lean backwards when standing and walking, especially in the later stages of pregnancy. Try and maintain a proper posture by “standing tall” and tightening your stomach and pelvic floor muscles. Take extra care to protect your back during pregnancy and also caring for your baby after birth.

• Wear comfortable, low heeled shoes when walking.
• Sit with your back properly supported. Do not sit in a chair that is too low, for it is difficult to stand up again. Try not to sit for long periods at a time; get up every half hour and move around.
• When feeding your baby, sit in a chair with your hips, knees and ankles at a right angle.
• The baby cot should be at a proper height so that you do not have to bend your back to pick your baby up.
• Lower the side of the baby cot before lifting your baby or putting your baby down.
• If the baby cot is close to the floor, make sure that you kneel or squat when lifting your baby.
• When lifting your baby, remember to always keep your back straight, to tighten your stomach muscles and to keep your baby close to your body.
• Use a changing table or elevated work surface (with the proper height) when changing your baby’s clothes or nappy.
• Place the bath on a sturdy surface at your hip height. Kneel when bathing your baby in a regular bath.
• Before lifting your baby from a regular bath, empty the bathwater, but cover your baby to retain the heat; then step into the bath with one foot (remember to use a non-slip bath mat). Sit on the rim of the bath and avoid twisting your back when lifting your baby.
• Remember to hold your baby close to your body when lifting her out of the bath.
• Once you are holding your baby firmly, carefully bring your leg back over the rim of the bath and stand up with both feet firmly on the floor.
• Avoid carrying your baby on one hip for extended periods of time, for this places excessive stress on your spine.
• Go down on your knees when you want to pick your child up from the floor or a low chair. Once again, remember to keep your elbows close to your body.
• If your baby is on the floor, you can always go down on the floor and allow your baby to crawl onto your lap.
• When your child is old enough, she can stand on a chair or step before you pick her up. You can then let her slide onto your knee or use a squat-lift while keeping your back straight.

 

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This website is a patient resource compiled from information from leading spinal surgeons practicing in South Africa and complements the My Spine – Lumbar and My Spine – Cervical information booklets that you can obtain directly from your spinal specialist. You will find information about spinal conditions and treatment on this website.

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