It’s time to head home from the hospital with the little one. The car seat has been set-up. As you bend down to put the baby into the car seat, you realise how challenging that is, and how much more challenging it is going to be pulling the car seat with baby out of the car and placing it on the stroller. Hoisting an 8kg stroller into and out of the boot of a car is not an easy feat, either.
So how do new parents do it? Not very well unfortunately. Lower back pains stemming from improper handling of the stroller and car seat are very common. Mobility in the spine, pelvis, hips and shoulder; and technique are key to staying injury-free.
Let’s talk about mobility first, which is the body’s ability to move efficiently by:
1. Keeping the spine (from neck to lower back) stable
2. Using the appropriate muscles and joints in the peripheries (the arms and legs)
The first is achieved through core training and functional training; the second is achieved through functional training and static and dynamic flexibility exercises. It is thus extremely important for women to start prenatal exercises early into their pregnancy. It is also extremely important to focus on the functional rehabilitation of the pelvic floor as soon as possible after giving birth (women who have undergone natural delivery can do so as early as four weeks post-natally). The fathers-to-be need to be on a similar training programme (yes, men do have pelvic floors as well). Men are at a high risk of hurting their backs with their new babies because of a strong sense of chivalry and responsibility. Now, let’s talk about technique (see photos). It’s all about keeping your back straight,hinging through the hips, and bending the knee(s), just like weightlifters. Use these techniques while loading and unloading the car and at home for an injury-free back.
Written By A
parna Shah, Senior Physiotherapist