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WARNING: Babies Are A Pain In The Back

Who me? Mess up your back? NO WAY!

Hey there y’all.  Sorry I’ve been bad about blogging this past week. I’ve been very busy with lots of job-stuff and Christmas prep activity, but the biggest reason I haven’t been updating here at Baby’s First Year as regularly as I normally do is that I have been knocked for a loop by a VERY painful lower back injury of some kind.

Well, I call it a back “injury” but basically, I woke up one morning a few weeks ago with my back feeling kind of stiff and sore, and the problem has just gotten worse and worse since then.  So I can’t really point to any kind of actual “injury,” unless you count having a 5 month old baby as an injury. Because after a lot of research and talking with two specialists, that’s what I think is wrong with my back:  my baby.  Babies are apparently a real pain in the back.

I have learned that I am not alone;  lots of women develop lower back pain in the first year after they give birth.  And in fact, the only other time in my life when I had back pain was when my now-12-year-old son, E was a baby. I am pretty sure that period of back pain hell was caused by an epidural gone wrong, and it hurt like the dickens for almost a year before finally getting better.  Fast forward 12 years and the same terrible back pain has returned for the first time since that first occurrence.

This time, I think the back pain is not only the result of hauling the baby all over the place, and of picking her up and setting her down – things that would be hard on anyone’s back.  This time, I think that another big contributor is the fact that I have had two c-sections in the past 35 months (one with Baby G in June of 2010 and one with her older sister C is July of 2007). C-sections really do a number on your belly muscles. I’ve been left with a flabby mess of a midsection that has NO remaining core strength. My muscles were battered, stretched and then CUT by two pregnancies and surgical births  in close succession, and I now have no muscle tone in the front to support – you guessed it – my back.  So the combination of  carrying Baby G around, lifting her up and setting her down, and having a post-c-sec mid-section that somewhat resembles that bowl full of jelly about which we hear so much this time of year has just left me with this terrible back pain.

I’ve found that wearing the awkward and ugly, but supportive back brace that the doctor gave me helps more than anything (that includes the painkillers and muscle relaxers that the doctor also gave me, but which really aren’t that helpful). Since the orthopedic-looking back brace feels so good, I am thinking about ordering something like the Belly Bandit to wear all the time, and see if it can help me pull my muscles back into shape and support my back.  (Have any of you tried a Belly Bandit or something similar? Tell me what you thought.)

The biggest issue, I know, is that I need to find a way to integrate regular exercise into my life.  I want to lose the 25 extra baby pounds I am carrying around (also terrible for back pain) and I want to strengthen up my belly and back so that I don’t continue to hurt like this. I need to quit making excuses.  Sigh….

PS: According to this esteemed medical organization, women could avoid postpartum back pain if they ….wait for it….wait for it…. “RETURN TO NORMAL WEIGHT WITHIN SIX WEEKS OF GIVING BIRTH”  Yes, their handout on postpartum back pain actually says that. Who wants to join me in guessing that no woman who has ever given birth helped write this list of recommendations?


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