Hormonal changes in estrogen, relaxin, and progesterone during pregnancy contribute to increased laxity in our ligaments and connective tissues. These increased hormonal levels remain elevated for 6 months postpartum or longer if the woman is breastfeeding (1). In women that are breastfeeding for 12-24 months postpartum, these hormonal effects are likely prolonged and can be seen to contribute to flaring of the rib cage, increased lumbar lordosis, increased thoracic kyphosis, anterior pelvic rotation, widening of the pelvis, and flattening of feet! If not addressed, these stresses could lead to injuries later on such as SI joint dysfunction, hip and lower back pain, and leg, foot, and ankle injuries!
Hopefully the information and tips provided will help all those working through the struggles of breastfeeding…and the 4th trimester as a whole! As always, PLEASE reach out if you feel like our therapists could help YOU! We have so much to offer and this article is in no way a conclusive list!
Strength and Conditioning Journal: February 2020 – Volume 42 – Issue 1 – p 45-52 doi: 10.1519/SSC.000000000000045