Your changing body | Fit Pregnancy

Pregnancy Backlash

07.23.12 Tweaking your alignment before and after baby's arrival can help you stay pain-free

Unfortunately, once you've delivered, some pregnancy discomforts may continue, especially where your back is concerned.

During pregnancy, the body relaxes the joints and ligaments in the pelvis to make it easier for the baby to pass through the birth canal; these levels remain elevated for three to four months after delivery. This instability increases the risk of inflammation and joint misalignment, which can cause back pain.

Forty-four percent of postpartum women are affected, but most will see a significant improvement within six months of giving birth. Here, tips for treatment and prevention of post-baby back pain:

"How you sit is one of the most important factors in eliminating back pain," says Frank Painter, D.C., owner of Alternative Care Chiropractic in La Grange, Ill., "Poke your butt out before you sit down; this places you at the back of the chair, where the support is, and also gets your weight off the lower part of your pelvis so that your pelvis rocks forward while sitting."

  • Take omega-3 supplements; they are a natural inflammatory.
  • Try not to hunch over when you feed or lift the baby.
  • Do short daily bursts of low-impact exercise, such as walking, to help reduce inflammation.
  • Switch the side you carry your baby and diaper bag on.

Our Ask the Labor Nurse blogger previously touched on the subject of back and pelvic pain after pregnancy. Like she says: "Unfortunately, it's part of the pregnancy package for some women." —Nancy Ripton