I love working with pregnant women. During pregnancy, a woman’s body is changing rapidly. It’s important to develop good habits early on to help avoid back pain.
Pregnancy – Adjusting to the Bump
I help women to strengthen their back and to find balance and ease, both physically and emotionally. We do a lot of work with bending to learn how to support the back properly both during pregnancy and when the baby arrives. I also have ways to show how not to arch the back which is a common posture during pregnancy.
We look at preparing for labour and getting ready for when the baby comes, being back and neck aware. If a couple wants, I can also work with the birth partner so they know how they can support mum. One thing I focus on is the quality of touch so that the touch is supportive and not adding to tension.
It’s best to start as early as possibly – ideally from 3 months.
Adjusting to the baby
There’s so much to adjust to when a new baby comes into the world, that mums (and dads/partners) can forget to think about their own bodies. And this can cause havoc with their backs.
It can also be quite stressful and emotional.
In an Alexander Technique session, we can look at a range of practical activities such as:
- bending and avoiding back ache: over the pram, cot, bath, changing mat
- breastfeeding without straining your back and neck
- sitting comfortably when playing with the kids on the floor
- carrying your baby without arching the back
- working out the best way to wear a sling
- using baby car seats without damaging your back
- how to find calm and reduce anxiety.
I’m very happy for parents to bring the baby into the lesson. If the baby’s sleeping then the two of us can work together. If the baby needs attention, we can work while you hold the baby or breastfeed.
I’m also happy to sing to the baby to soothe him or her – lullabies and football songs, whatever their preference!
Feeding a baby can take up a fair proportion of a parent’s day and so it’s important to be comfortable both for yourself and for your baby. Whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding, it’s easy to focus more on the baby than yourself and this is where back pain can set in. Here are some top tips for looking after your posture for comfortable breastfeeding:
- Back support: You need support for your upper back, ideally between the shoulder blades. It’s important that your back is upright rather than slouched. If the seat is deep, such as on a sofa, you may need 2 or 3 cushions to support your upper back.
- Neck pain prevention: When looking at your baby, either to see if he has latched on or if you are looking in her eyes, think about what is going on with your head and neck. Use your eyes more to look down and if you need to tilt your head, nod your head from the head-neck balancing joint between the ears rather than shoving your head down from a lower point in the neck.
- Shoulder pain: Are your shoulders up by your ears? Ensure the baby is supported well, especially with a newborn. You can raise the baby’s height by putting cushions underneath so the baby is brought up to the breast, rather than breast to baby. This will also help over-curving your back.
- Leg tension: When sitting, are you on tiptoes? Try putting something under your feet so that your legs can relax. If the baby is too low, see the tip above on using cushions.
- Anxiety: Feeding doesn’t come easily to everyone and can be a time that is fraught with anxiety. Taking your time to make yourself comfortable will quieten your body that will feed through to the baby and can also help calm your mind.
It is a great pleasure for me to work with a mum who is feeding her baby. Helping her to get a sense of comfort, often for the first time, shows with a smile in her face and a peacefulness in the room that is almost tangible. As well as showing her how to set herself up when at home or out and about, I also work hands on to help build relaxation in her body.