Pregnancy Back Pain

Baby Body Mechanics: Protect Your Back!

By Karen Woodman, Obstetrics PT
Correct posture principles when caring for your baby:
  • Keep your back slightly arched and bend your knees when lifting your baby.
  • Before standing or lifting, pull in and lift your lower belly muscles, continuing to breath.
  • Hold your baby close to your body.
  • Try using support when carrying your baby (i.e. slings, Baby Bjorn, Snuggli, etc.).
  • Sit straight and tall when breastfeeding; do not lean down into the baby.
  • Support your baby during feedings with a pillow/Boppy.
  • Try alternate nursing positions (football hold, side lying, cradle, or cross cradle).
  • Carry only what's needed in your diaper baby, or better yet, use a backpack.
  • Use the stroller attachment for your car carrier instead of hauling it around.
  • Avoid pushing your hip out to hold and carry the baby. Instead try to carry Baby with weight balanced over both legs and the baby front and center.
Source: APTA Section on Womens Health Postpartum Recovery handout.

For Providers . . . Your Patients May Benefit From Obstetrics Physical Therapy!

By Karen Woodman, Obstetrics PT
Physical therapists are uniquely trained to treat musculoskeletal dysfunctions. An Obstetrics PT specializes in the evaluation and treatment of women during pregnancy having pain or dysfunction related to pregnancy, delivery, or postpartum. Postpartum problems may arise immediately after delivery or anytime during the first year.
Who should be referred:
Back, sacral, hip, pelvic and rib pain
Neck or upper back pain
Sciatica, carpal tunnel, thoracic outlet or other nerve symptoms
Decreased ability to perform work or home activities
Weak or tight muscles
Balance deficits
Urinary urgency or stress incontinence during pregnancy
Patients who desire to start or continue a safe exercise regimen
Diastasis rectus abdominus greater than 2 cm
Referrals can be phoned, faxed or emailed to:
Compass Rehabilitation Center
250 E. Saginaw St., East Lansing, MI 48823
(517) 337-3080 – Telephone
(517) 337-3082 – Fax
Please include the following information on the script:
Treatment diagnosis (back pain, sciatica, etc)
Please note OB or Postpartum on the script!!!
Any precautions
‘PT eval and tx’ Attn: Karen Woodman
Please include a frequency and duration for treatment (i.e. 3 times per week for 4 weeks)
If possible, please include the nurse’s name and direct number for PT staff to contact.
Please feel free to contact our office if we can be of assistance to you!

Yoga and Exercise Build Strength During Pregnancy

By Karen Woodman, Obstetrics PT


Yoga is a safe way to improve flexibility and build your strength during pregnancy, but there are some precautions. Keep in mind the following recommendations before you start any yoga program:
  • Avoid extreme end-range twisting movements. Remember, your ligaments are lax and you are more prone to spinal injury with extreme movements, especially if you are combining twisting and bending (never a good idea, actually).
  • Avoid 'Downward Dog'. Yes, I know…it is a common yoga pose, but it is not recommended during pregnancy because the increased pressure of the abdomen being pushed into your ribcage in a prolonged standing with head down position compromises the diaphragm and your ability to breath. It also can lead to lightheadedness. Just skip it to be safe.
  • Avoid 'hot' yoga. You don't want your core body temperature to rise over 102 degrees or there is an increased risk of neural tube defects.
  • Drink lots of water…you can dehydrate quickly with exercise.
  • Monitor your tolerance to exercise. If you feel like the exercise is causing you to pant or feel hot and sweaty, slow down.
To get started, try this Top Ten Pregnancy Yoga website for review of some of the videos available. Please let me know about any other good ones out there! I am not making any specific recommendations, so keep in mind the above tips when choosing any exercise program, and have fun!  

Pregnancy Related Lower Back Pain News Report

For pregnant women, back pain can make it hard to walk or do daily activities, often forcing a woman into bed rest. Compass Rehabilitation Center in East Lansing, Michigan has a solution. WILX News 10 has a special report on this new back pain therapy.

Nine months of back pain through pregnancy is especially taxing. The Compass Rehabilitation Center has a program made for women, by women.

"In a month my pain had gone from being so bad I couldn't walk or stand, to like a 2, which is really nothing." - Melissa Cooke