We all know that pregnancy can play havoc with our posture but surely, once the baby’s out, everything should go back to normal…..right? Wrong!
If you think about it, throughout the 9 months of pregnancy, our body has been changing drastically, whether it be our centre of gravity as our bump grows, our head position as we compensate for this growth or the collapsing of arches in our feet as our weight increases. All of these changes have a knock on effect on our posture and by the time we reach the end of our pregnancy, this becomes our norm!
Once we have delivered the baby, don’t be fooled into thinking all these changes will correct themselves automatically. In fact, reality is quite the opposite. Have a think about all the things we now need to do to take care of our baby and the position of our bodies when we do them – feeding, cradling baby when they cry, pushing a pushchair , lifting car seats in and out– do any of them improve our posture? No, in fact most of them have the potential to make it even worse!
So, what can we do about it?
One of the first things we can look at is our “Pushchair Posture” as most of us will spend several hours a day out and about with our little ones in pushchairs. Now, this might seem like a relatively simple task to push a pushchair, but actually, if you are reinforcing this misaligned posture on a daily basis, you are at risk of increasing aches and pains.
How many of us have ever stopped to think about our posture when we are pushing our little ones in the pushchair? Certainly not me – I have two daughters who are 7 and 10 now and looking back, I literally loaded my pushchair up on a daily basis and always put my lower back pain down to “new mum aches and pains”. It was something that I accepted, almost as a badge of honour that new mums always have lower back pain, rather than try to think about what might be causing it.
We’ve all been that mum when the sun is shining and we decide to walk to the shops with the pushchair to pick up a “few bits”. However, we all know that there is no such thing as a “few bits” when you go shopping. It is a bit like nipping to Ikea for just a candle –£240 later you leave with a whole range of furniture for the spare room! A few bits will always turn into a full shop, and with only two hands and a pushchair to consider, we end up loading up bag after bag, until we look something like this:
You can see that as each bag is added, we need to step further and further away from the pushchair to allow us to walk without tripping up! What this creates is a compensation pattern in our posture (leaning forward from the lower back) so that we can still reach the handles. This places a huge amount of stress on the, probably already strained, muscles in the lower back, which ultimately will result in pain if we do this on a regular basis.
Our top tip to avoid this would be to scrap the over the shoulder baby change bags or the ones that you hang over the pushchair handles (sorry to those who have spent a fortune on these fancy bags) but they just aren’t made with our alignment and posture in mind – which I find odd given this is probably the most important time when we should be focusing on this! We also need to avoid adding bags of shopping to our pushchair handles.
Get yourself a decent sized rucksack that you can wear on your back. This will allow you to carry the weight in a central position on the body, without changing the distance between you and the pushchair. You can fit your baby change items in there and still have room for some extra shopping.
You can see here in the photo that in this position, we can maintain good alignment and stay close to the hands without the need to lean forward, reducing all of that pressure placed on the lower back.
What this also does, is help keep our head in a neutral position, rather than that forward head position we develop in order to reach the handles over all of our shopping.
Ideally, when pushing a pushchair, like the Graco Breaze Lite shown in the image, you should try and aim for:
*Handles to be at the right height so that you can keep elbows bent at 90 and still reach without having to bend.
*Focus your gaze forward rather than down to avoid ‘forward head posture’
*Keep your hips fairly close to the pushchair in neutral alignment – Ears, Shoulders, Hips, Knees and ankles in alignment. This will encourage your body to use your leg and bum muscles instead of your back – and who doesn’t want a bum workout while out and about with their baby!
*Any bags to be carried centrally on the body as oppose to one shoulder/hanging on the pushchair handles.
To find out how you can use the Graco Breaze Lite for a Pushchair Workout, check out our free download
*Graco Breaze Lite – Gifted