• Jo Dyson

Infant car seats....a blessing or a curse? top tips for Mums lifting car seats.

Infant car seats are considered by many new Mums, including myself way back when, as a convenience item you would not like to be without. Not just an item to keep baby safe in the car, they often form part of a 'travel system' and allow Mums to transport baby (often when sleeping!) from A to B. They can provide a mobile 'seat' for babies too young to sit in a high chair yet while keeping Mum's hands free for a much needed hot drink (or more likely to carry all the things baby needs on a trip out the house).

What's not to like?

Like most things in life, where there are PROS there are CONS!

Car seats, plus babies, are HEAVY and require a degree of humping about. Not to mention an awkward shape necessitating being carried to one side. Repetitive lifting and carrying of these weighty seats, even over relative short distances can add excessive load onto the pelvis, low back and pelvic floor at a time when new Mums are de-conditioned to lifting. This increases the risk of, or may exacerbate existing postnatal back/pelvic pain, urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

In the first few weeks and months after delivering your baby, your ligaments are still soft and more stretchy then usual, thanks to the hormonal changes of pregnancy. It takes time to rebuild your pelvic floor and abdominal strength too, so the two key systems (ligamentous and muscular) which offer structural support to your pelvis & internal organs are not yet functioning in the most efficient way. This is not the ideal time to undertake repetitive heavy lifting! Yet so often that's exactly the way it works out. Mums have to just get on with it.

Here's a few pointers to reduce the risk associated with all the heavy lifting Mums can find themselves doing:

> Do you HAVE to lift the car seat in/out the car? Could you take baby but not the seat? Less weight = less load, plus it's easier to keep the weight close to your body.

>Is there someone else with you (who hasn't just had a baby!) who could do the carrying for you? Enlist help and protect your pelvic health!

>Consider using a sling to carry baby in and keep your hands free, rather than the car seat. Slings can be a minefield but there are local sling libraries run by knowledgeable volunteers who can guide you in choice, safe use and often hire slings so you can try before you buy.

>Where circumstances dictate that carrying the car seat about is the best/only option, try and follow these principles to mitigate the risk:

>Try not to overload your arms with other bags, perhaps choosing a backpack style change bag, so you can use both arms to lift.

>Try to avoid that 9 months pregnant posture, with your back over arched and butt stuck out. Stand tall, tailbone tucked under.

>As you pick up the car seat, start to EXHALE, so get ready with an inhale first. Breathing out when you first pick up a heavy weight, then continuously breathing in/out rather than breath holding can play a huge part in lessening the strain and downward pressure on your pelvic organs. This use of the breath can be a game changer for the postnatal lady!Keep the car seat as close to your body as physically possible.

>If you notice you leak urine or feel any vaginal heaviness/pressure when lifting.....seriously consider DO YOU HAVE TO DO THIS TASK! And seek the advice of a pelvic health Physiotherapist too!

If you're a Mum to a baby under 9 months and local to Leighton Buzzard, I offer Physiotherapist led postnatal Mum and Baby pilates classes which can help you re-connect, re-train and rebuild the key areas affected by pregnancy. Under the expert care of an experienced Physio you will learn a wide variety of safe and effective exercises designed to strengthen you from within, so that you can enjoy being a Mum to the full and cope with the physical challenges that motherhood can present.

Grab a HALF PRICE TASTER SESSION now! Complete the online booking form to start the booking process for your class.