Dr. Anand Singh’s wife breast-feeds their 3 month old son and is suffering from pain in her knees and ankles. Anand is worried that she may have a calcium deficiency due to breastfeeding, is that the case?
Not all women experience post-partum joint discomfort, which is why women who do, might find it even more perplexing. Joint discomfort is quite common among new mothers. Nine months of gestation will certainly take its toll on the body. Not only does the pregnant mother experience bodily changes, but special hormones are secreted by the body in order to prepare for the baby’s growth inside the mother’s womb. Soreness in your joints commonly results from joint tension, muscle tension and fatigue, which are not strangers to breastfeeding mothers. Awkward nursing positions, infections and chronic health conditions are all common causes of joint soreness in breastfeeding moms. Fortunately, joint soreness in breastfeeding mothers is treatable with home care and pain relievers; it’s often preventable with changes in breastfeeding holds.
Relaxin is a hormone that the body produces during pregnancy that relaxes the ligaments attached to the pubic bone, thus allowing for expansion of muscles and ligaments, many times beyond their natural capacity. It is temporary. During this postpartum stage many women experience mild, moderate and even intense joint discomfort due to biochemical factors within the body.
Soreness of joints may result from repetitive movements of picking your baby, feeding, and carrying your baby around. And until your baby adjusts to a normal sleeping pattern, your body may not get sufficient rest to adequately recover from pregnancy and childbirth. Due to these factors, joint discomfort can be a debilitating factor for many women during this stage. New mothers will often complain of discomfort in the neck, back, knees, hips and feet. These aches are temporary and likely to last only for a few months after the delivery. But such pain can intensify when joints cannot get the proper rest they need as the baby needs your attention. Sleep deprivation can also take its toll.
What steps can be taken?
The most common type of joint discomfort is back ache. Applying a topical cream on joints that ache can help to alleviate pain. Have someone else apply it for you when the baby is napping so that it allows time for you to relax and rest your joint, maximizing the topical cream’s ability to relieve pain. If you are applying it yourself, wear gloves and apply it to joints your baby will not come in contact with. Many mothers report joint ache due to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding itself cannot be the cause of joint ache, but the way you hold your baby during this time is important. Support your position with plenty of pillows so that your shoulders and back are not bearing the weight of your baby. Your posture should becorrect to avoid strain on any muscles or joints.
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