Victoria Beckham long dreamed about holding her baby daughter -- and now that dream is being shelved, at least temporarily. The new mom of baby Harper Seven (who joined her three older brothers last month) is reportedly suffering from a slipped disc, which is causing significant back pain and even making it difficult for her to hold and feed little Harper comfortably. “'Victoria has a back condition. She is resting and receiving treatment,” a Beckham spokesman told The Daily Mail. The paper also reported that hubby David Beckham is helping to cradle little Harper during nursing and to carry her around their rented California home.
If it’s any solace to Victoria, she is far from alone. Postpartum back pain is a relatively common -- although frustrating -- condition, which annoyingly occurs just when we need our bodies to work the most. According to Dave Van Zandt, a certified ergonomic assessment specialist at Guilford Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center in North Carolina, postpartum back pain can be attributed to both biological factors and to our own habit of overworking our new mom bodies.
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New moms are often lifting car seats, baby strollers, and the baby, without trying to protect their back, according to Van Zandt. What's more, he adds, many take on child care without fully recovering from childbirth. This is especially hard for moms with older siblings to care for, like Victoria Beckham. Together with loose ligaments caused by pregnancy hormones, it's a recipe for disaster.
So how can you prevent a new mom back injury? Follow these tips from Norman Marcus, M.D., director of the Norman Marcus Pain Institute and director of muscle pain research at NYU School of Medicine’s department of anesthesiology for some specific tips, including:
Exercise during pregnancy. Women who do not exercise and are overweight are at the highest risk for back issues during and after pregnancy. Joining a gym or even just committing to a short walk everyday before and during pregnancy can pay dividends once that bundle of joy arrives.
Wear good shoes while you're expecting. Posh Spice certainly didn’t heed this advice -- see the sky-high Christian Louboutin heels she wore to William and Kate’s royal wedding while six months pregnant -- but it’s never too late to get your footwear back on track. Look for flats or low heels with good orthotic support.
Pay attention to proper body mechanics. You’ve been told a million times to squat down and lift from your knees, instead of bending at the waist. That advice is even more critical during and after pregnancy.
Check your bed. A worn-out mattress will not only rob you of the sleep you desperately need, but aggravate a vulnerable back. Check your mattress after you wake up in the morning: if you can see an impression of your body, it’s time for a firmer model.
Reduce your stress. Tension not only affects your mood, but your muscles. Having a baby is an exhilarating but stressful time, which can manifest itself as back pain. If you are feeling overwhelmed, talk to your spouse or someone close to you and ask for help -- your sanity and your back will thank you.
In the meantime, we wish Victoria a speedy recovery -- and hope she can hold her precious daughter pain-free again soon.
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