During pregnancy and after delivery most women feel stiffness in the neck and back between the shoulder blades. For some women this can lead to “kyphosis” or a slightly rounded upper back. Causes include changes in breast size and weight while pregnant, and the bent over feeding positions after baby has arrived (breast or bottle feeding). As a result, pectoral muscles tighten, and back muscles overstretch and weaken. This can be exacerbated by the hormone relaxin that is released during pregnancy and beyond.
Sore and stiff upper back muscles can be alleviated by following these simple steps…
- Check your posture while sitting or pushing the stroller. Make sure you roll the shoulders back and down and have a “proud” open chest. Keep your chin in line with your shoulders (not jutting forward)
- Stretch the chest after exercise and feeding: latch your fingers behind your back and bring your shoulder blades together and hold for 15 seconds.
- Use strength training to improve posture and reduce aches and pains. A good exercise for this is the bent over row. Grasp a weight in your left hand, position yourself on your hands and knees with knees under hips and hands under shoulders, row your left arm back keeping your elbow brushing along the side of your body for a count of 10-12 reps, then switch sides and repeat. If you’d like to incorporate baby, consider singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” too.
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