In the early stages of motherhood, we are all learning how to get it all done. Caring for the baby, caring for your self, returning to work, managing the household duties, maintaining friendships and relationships, and so on. It took me a few years to figure out the right balance. Eventually, after trial and error, this is the guide I keep in mind when balancing the demands of family, work, and everything in between. This is just a plan and a guide - not a bible, not a contract. I learned that I had to be ok with things getting in the way. There will be days (weeks? months?) when I just can't seem to get it all done - and that is ok. That's life! I take comfort in knowing that these periods of chaos are normal and I will get back on track when I'm ready. I have never followed an "all-or-nothing" approach. I need to leave room for error and give myself grace to learn and grow.
With the ever-growing to-do list and the constant changes in our bodies during motherhood, it's crucial to prioritize our health and well-being. This blog post explores how physical therapy can be a game-changer for moms, helping us stay active, and keep up with our growing children while preventing or managing musculoskeletal issues.
The Power of Physical Therapy: Staying Fit and Active
1. Tips for Staying in Active:
a. Incorporate short, effective workouts into your daily routine. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training can be time-efficient and highly effective.
b. Embrace opportunities for family fitness. Activities like family walks, bike rides, and dance sessions can help you and your kids stay active together.
c. Follow the rule of SOMETHING is better than NOTHING. If all you can manage is a short walk around the block, just do that.
d. Find an activity that brings you joy. If you enjoy walking with friends, get those scheduled. If you like being social, maybe a group class would be fun!
2. The Nutritional Component:
a. Prioritize meals rich in proteins, whole grains, fruits, & veggies. Remember, we need more protein as we age!
b. Stay hydrated, especially if you're breastfeeding, exercising, or sweating.
c. Consult a nutritionist/dietitian to tailor your diet to your specific needs and goals.
a. Schedule regular self-care time. Even a few minutes of mindfulness, meditation, or a warm bath can make a world of difference.
b. Don't forget about adequate sleep and stress management.
c. Get together with people who make you happy. Keep it easy: invite them over for coffee or go out to run errands together. A target run or quick bite to eat can help make you feel connected.
Ergonomic Recommendations for Moms:
Nursery Setup: Adjust the changing table and crib heights to minimize awkward bending and lifting. Use a supportive chair for feeding or rocking to protect your back.
Breastfeeding: Use pillows or supports to help maintain proper posture. Take breaks and change positions during feeding sessions. Try nursing in different positions (laying down, sitting up, different chairs/sofas.) Switching it up can help prevent muscle fatigue from always being in the same position. Get help from a lactation specialist if needed.
Picking Up Toys: Bend at your knees, not your back, when picking up toys or your child. Avoid bending or twisting at the waist while holding your child. As soon as they are able, ask your children to help pick things up - a win for everyone!
Bathroom habits: Use a squatty potty to help with body mechanics during toileting. This will help prevent unnecessary strain and pressure on your pelvic floor.
Red Flags for Seeking Help:
If you experience persistent pain, weakness, or discomfort in your joints, muscles, or back, seek a physical therapist's guidance. If you are having bowel/bladder/sexual dysfunction, seek a pelvic floor physical therapist's guidance. If you are unsure if you need PT - ask for a free consult. We offer them and many other PT practices do as well.
Any unusual symptoms such as numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation should not be ignored. Talk to your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy:
Many moms experience pelvic floor issues after childbirth. Pelvic floor physical therapy can help improve muscle function and alleviate incontinence and discomfort. In many countries, a pelvic floor exam by a physical therapist is routine in the postpartum phase because pelvic floor issues are so common and can be debilitating if left untreated.
Returning to Running Safely:
If you're a running enthusiast, consult a physical therapist for a gradual, safe return to your running routine. We can assess your posture, gait, and strength to prevent injuries. Because our bodies go through so much change in a short period of time, physical therapy can help make sure your body is ready for return to running. Through various tests and measures, we can identify areas that need attention to prevent injury, pain, or dysfunction.
As moms, our health and well-being are paramount. Physical therapy is your ally in maintaining your strength, staying active, and preventing musculoskeletal issues. By following these tips and seeking professional help when necessary, you can embrace motherhood with confidence, vitality, and resilience.
Remember, a healthy and happy mom makes for a thriving family!