Getting Back in Shape & Avoiding Injury Post-Pregnancy

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It’s official: you gave birth and you’re experiencing all the joy, happiness, and hard work that comes with a new little one, but you’re thinking it’s time to get back in shape. On the big wide web, you’ve been inundated with an abundance of tips and tricks about how to get that pre-pregnancy body back through exercise, dieting, and other “magic” tricks which can be pretty overwhelming. These days, there’s so much pressure on women to get back into shape (and so quickly!), it’s becoming more and more common for new moms to injure themselves while striving to get back to their pre-pregnancy physique.

What do the medical professionals say?

We reached out to the medical professionals at The Spine & Sports Health Center in Hoboken (with locations in Jersey City, and Bayonne, too) who gave us answers to our burning workout questions and walked us through some common exercises that can benefit new moms looking to get back into shape. They also explained how injuries can occur and simple ways to prevent them. Bikini season, here we come! ?

Why are new moms vulnerable to injury?

It’s no secret that physical changes occur in a new momma’s body, both during pregnancy and delivery.  Hormone changes loosen the tissue around the joints to help widen and prepare the mother’s hips for birth.  This looseness remains for months after birth, leaving the new mother vulnerable to strain on her joints, particularly, in the hips. Additionally, the pelvic and abdominal muscles are strained during pregnancy and delivery, and the woman’s center of gravity is altered. This combination leaves a new mother vulnerable to injury when she is exerting herself heavily, whether that be at the gym, holding her new baby, or even just bending over to pick up the child.

What can be done to avoid injuries post-pregnancy?

Listen to your body and recognize it’s vulnerability
Just like you did during your entire pregnancy, listen to your body. The first step to avoid strained muscles and joints is to recognize your vulnerable state. Just being conscious of this new state can drastically alter your approach to working out and getting back in shape – which means less chance of an injury (hi, yes please ??).

“We get plenty of patients who come in to see us with injuries that have resulted from simply pushing themselves too hard at the gym.  Many women do not realize that their bodies are still recovering from the pregnancy and delivery, and they need to take a step back before they work out too hard.” – Michael Kelly, D.C., Director of Chiropractic at The Spine & Sports Health Center 

Start small and use proper technique
Now that you’re listening to your body, you need to be aware of the technique you’re using. The use of proper technique is crucial to minimizing your risk of injury.

Correct your posture
Sit up straight and stand up tall. This is a low impact way to engage muscles in both your abdomen and back.

Try lifting weights
As long as you maintain correct form and do not use anything too heavy, this can rev up your metabolism, with little risk.

Try a basic bridge pose
Lie on your back with both feet flat on the ground and gently lift the hips to straighten the spine. This will help tighten your abdominal muscles, with little risk of injury to the lower back (Psst…This tightens up the glutes, too!).

Break bad habits and make adjustments
Notice bad habitsthat have formed in your routine and correct them immediately. Many new moms make the mistake of lifting with their backs, instead of their knees, especially when lifting up baby equipment that they are not used to working with (we’re looking at you, car seats and strollers). This might not injure the back at the time, but it can later on during a workout.

Don’t hunch over 
When feeding the little one, hunching over puts unnecessary pressure and tension on the spine, which can be exasperated when working out. Sit and stand tall, momma!

Try using a baby carrier
Carrying your newborn on your hip can throw off alignment and make you more susceptible to injury later.  Instead of carrying your newborn on your hip, try using a baby carrier if holding the child for more than 15 minutes to ease the tension.

For more information, reach out to a medical professional

At the end of the day, some of the most memorable moments in life are those after the birth of your baby, and The Spine & Sports Health Center (located in Hoboken, Jersey City, and Bayonne), is here to make it as pain-free as possible. Call (201) 533-9200 to learn more about post-pregnancy pain or injury, or to make an appointment with one of their board-certified physicians – no referral needed.  They even have weekend and after-work hours available, too.

The Spine & Sports Health Center is a medical practice specializing in the non-surgical treatment of spine and joint pain. Their board-certified medical doctors provide individualized treatment plans for patients of all shapes and sizes, from young children all the way to professional athletes. Through the use of interventional pain management, sports medicine, physical therapy and rehabilitation, chiropractic, and acupuncture, they are able to provide targeted relief for patients experiencing pain due to neck and back conditions or injuries, sciatica, sports injuries, headaches, nerve damage, herniated or bulging discs, and much more.

This information should not be used or relied upon for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. The Spine & Sports Health Center expressly disclaims responsibility and shall have no liability for any damages, loss, injury or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site. If you are having a medical emergency please call 911.

This post is sponsored by The Spine & Sports Health Center, keeping your spine and your face smiling.


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About Author

Erika is a yogi, writer, coffee enthusiast, and world traveler. If she's not at the beach or chasing the sunset, she's looking for the best iced coffee she can find and planning her next adventure. Her favorite NJ spots include The Saint, Island Heights, and Lava Java House.

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