A Card That Can Ease Mom's Pain

Physical therapists add something extra to Mother's Day greetings

WEDNESDAY, May 4, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- A new Mother's Day card offers more than love and good wishes: It provides mothers with tips on how to avoid pain and strain when they pick up babies and toddlers.

The American Physical Therapy Association is offering the card, which features helpful advice and color photographs, on its Web site.

Mothers looking after children can avoid strains to the neck, back and leg muscles by making a few simple adjustments, according to Kendra Harrington, pelvic floor physical therapist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, in Washington, D.C.

"It may be as simple as remembering to do a 'half-kneel lift' when picking up your child or holding him close to your chest when you carry him," Harrington said in a prepared statement. "If moms remember these simple tips, they'll be sure to feel the difference, as well as see the changes in their posture."

She also suggested that mothers-to-be focus on strengthening their arms and abdomen by doing crunches and Pilates-based core stability exercises even before they're pregnant.

"Repetitive squatting, bending and pushing go hand-in-hand with motherhood, and those moms who are physically well-prepared for it will have a much easier time with these daily physical requirements," Harrington said.

Older mothers-to-be need to pay special attention to their fitness, added Jennifer M. Bottomley, president of the physical therapy group's geriatrics section.

"It is particularly important for new mothers who are 40 years of age and older to be fit before pregnancy," she said in a prepared statement.

"Because of the changes in hormonal concentration that accompany pregnancy, laxity in ligaments and joints occur, so older prospective mothers tend to develop muscular skeletal injuries more often than their younger counterparts," Bottomley said. "That's why it is crucial that they follow a workout program featuring extension and postural exercises during pregnancy."

More information

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has information about exercise during pregnancy.

SOURCE: Maloney & Fox public relations, news release, March 21, 2005
SOURCE: Maloney & Fox public relations, news release, May 2005
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