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Avoid The Aches And Pains Of Motherhood With Joint Tips From HSS

Dr. Sabrina Strickland is board-certified in Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Surgery at Hospital for Special Surgery.
Dr. Sabrina Strickland is board-certified in Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Surgery at Hospital for Special Surgery. Photo Credit: Hospital for Special Surgery

STAMFORD, Conn. -- As a new mom, many mothers experience aches and pains from constantly leaning over, whether placing your child in a car seat, nursing or simply rocking to sleep.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that postpartum moms may lift their children up to 50 times a day. As your child grows and gain weight, your pain may worsen. The most common pain points in a new mother tend to be the wrist, hips, shoulders, necks and back.

New moms often feel tendinitis called De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, an inflammation of the tendons around the wrist and thumb. The muscles that power the wrist are very small and not used to picking up 8 to 20 pounds of weight. To avoid the pain, keep your wrists stiff when picking up the baby and lift with your core not with your arms.

Holding your baby on your hip can also send shooting pain through your opposite side and can even lead to a potentially painful curve in the spine. Instead, alternate sides for holding the baby and use a sling or front carrier to distribute the weight.

While breastfeeding your new baby, you may be leaning awkwardly and hunching your shoulders. Try to maintain good ergonomics by keeping your spine and neck as straight as possible. You can arrange pillows under the baby to raise your child to your breast instead of bending down to meet the mouth. A nursing pillow can also help. It’s best to sit upright in a chair while breastfeeding instead of slouching on a couch.

Leaning over a crib, changing a diaper and simply carrying your child can cause back pain. During these activities, try to utilize your legs and core instead of your back. Always lift with the large, strong muscles of your legs, bend at the knees (not at your waist) and use your midsection for stability.

Dr. Sabrina Strickland is an orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery’s Women’s Sports Medical Center. She practices at both the HSS Outpatient Center in Stamford and the hospital’s main campus in New York. She specializes in shoulder and knee surgery.