With radical changes happening to the body during pregnancy and breastfeeding, the occurrence of something as mundane as back pain is not likely to grab our attention. Until it happens to us, that is. Those aches and pains during this critical time in our lives can vary from a mild distraction to something serious that prevents us from lifting or carrying a child for long periods. Understanding back health and pain management can empower us to regain control over the pain so our focus can return to everyday life.

Pregnancy
During pregnancy, the nerves and muscles in the back need to work that much harder to maintain an upright posture. The further the pregnancy progresses, the more effort goes into compensating for the weight of the belly. With the strain, it is not surprising that aches and pains develop. Some women may even experience sciatica symptoms for the first time – numbness, electric shocks or weakness running into the legs and feet.

To assist the management of these uncomfortable symptoms, doctors recommend massage, applying heat packs, as well as exercise to maintain much needed mobility and strength.

In-between visits to a physiotherapist or qualified masseuse, get the benefits of a massage at home from the wide variety of massage tools available at badback.com.au. For a portable and lightweight tool that fits easily in a bag, try the inexpensive Thera Cane Gizmo Trigger Point Massager. Or, if you prefer gadgets with infrared and vibrate controls, view the Beurer Hand Held Body Massager.  The Lupin Hot and Cold Pack can be used like a hot water bottle to get blood flowing into the inflamed area. It is 33% lighter than a wheat pack and 99% allergy free.

Sleep and pregnancy
With an ever-growing belly, pregnant women can find it increasingly difficult to get a restful eight hours a night. If your favourite sleeping position is lying on your front, you are likely to be frustrated for a few months.

In recognition of this common complaint, an entrepreneurial couple from the U.S. have brought an inflatable bed to market called the Cosy Bump. It is designed so the top half of the body is raised above the legs to remove unnecessary strain on the lower back. The pregnant belly is placed in a hole in the bed’s centre, which can be blown up or let down to accomodate the belly’s changing size.  

While pregnant women everywhere are bound to love this product, doctors will still warn you that sleeping on your front means that your neck will not be able to rest in alignment with your spine. Front-sleepers have to twist their neck sideways in order to breathe, which is not recommend for maintaining optimal spinal health.

Breastfeeding and posture
Experiencing back pain as a breastfeeding mother is not uncommon. If you think about it, you wouldn’t hold a bags of flour for more than a minute, yet, a baby of the same weight needs cuddles for hours, everyday. After holding a baby for a long time, they feel heavy. If your body is sustaining a good posture then it can manage the additional weight. However, when mothers hunch, or lean to reach their child, they may inadvertently put strain on their spine and neck, which develops into pain. The rule of thumb is to remember to pull the baby close to your body, rather than lean over them when breastfeeding.

The best thing to do for preventing back pain is to become conscious of your posture when you are sitting or standing with the baby in your arms. A lot of people find it helpful to “check in” throughout the day to mentally assess if they are keeping a long, straight spine.

Breastfeeding comfortably
While it is good to be relaxed when breastfeeding, a chair that allows your spine to be straight is better for your back health in the long run than a couch you almost sink into that lets your spine curve.

Because feeding the baby will take up so much time, it pays to invest in the right chair to help you and your baby enjoy this time together. The Ludlow Dual Motor Lift Chair is a luxury recliner with different adjustment settings to be personalised for your comfort, and it will look good in your home long after breastfeeding days are over.

Cushions, footstools and other comfort aids can make all the difference when nursing. A U-support pillow is perfect for breastfeeding and pregnancy because of its versatility. For night-time feeds, a Comfy Bed Lounger helps you sit up straight in bed, without compromising on comfort. Get creative with your arrangement of bedding, pillows and footstools, and you will find a position that maintains your spinal health so can take better your young child.