kelly sikkema new mom


For a long time, I’ve known the importance of eating right and exercising. I knew it was especially important when I was pregnant. To the best of my ability, I worked out for about 30 minutes (weight training, stretching and core exercises) 2 days a week, yoga 1 day a week and often went for walks around my neighborhood.

Suddenly I was a Mom! Then the pains started and I thought wait a minute, I felt strong and healthy during my pregnancy and had an uncomplicated delivery. These were new pains I had never felt before. I had been exercising to stay strong during my pregnancy but suddenly I had about 4 different overuse injuries? What is going on?

I was no longer doing my normal routine of: eat, work, sleep. My body had a completely new routine of feed baby, change baby, rock baby to sleep. I’ve never spent so much time looking down before, I’ve never held 9 lbs for over an hour before, and I’ve never spent so much time bending forward before.  I knew that care for the baby needed to be done, but I also knew that things were going to get worse if I didn’t address these new pains that I was experiencing as a result of my new duties as Mom.

Below are stretches and tips if you’re having pain as a new mom (or dad). Being a new parent is exhausting, and I know you have little free time. Try fitting these stretches and exercises into your daily routine rather than carving out a separate chunk of (nonexistent) time to complete your exercises. If you are having pelvic floor pain, call to make an appointment with our pelvic floor specialist. 

  • Low back pain, pain in butt, numbness in leg(s):
    • Reasons why: Picking up/putting baby in crib, bathing/changing baby, picking up and carrying a loaded car seat.
    • Exercises and tips: Complete these exercises during your baby’s tummy time! Check with your doctor if you had a Cesarean Section. 
      • Prone on elbows: Hang out with your baby while lying on your stomach with elbows on the ground (about 5 minutes). You can support your chin in your hands for a more comfortable position. 
      • Prone press ups: While resting on your stomach, place your hands at shoulder height and press up your trunk while keeping your hips down, 10 times.
      • Supermans: While lying on your stomach, lift your arms and legs off the floor at the same time and hold the position for 10 seconds, 10 times.
      • Planks: Get into a push up position and hold it for 30 seconds with your body as straight as a… plank!


  • Neck pain, numbness in arm(s): 
    • Reasons why: Looking down to sing/hush/rock baby, looking down while feeding baby.
    • Exercises and tips: Complete these during tv commercials or when you get to a new chapter in a book. Switch arms so you’re not always holding your baby the same way. While feeding your baby, put him/her down or use a c-shaped pillow that wraps around you.
      • Chin Tucks: In sitting or lying on your back, push your chin backwards as if you’re making a double chin and hold for 5 seconds, 10 times. 
      • Trapezius stretch: In sitting or standing, lower your right ear to your right shoulder while keeping your trunk straight and feel a stretch along the left side of your neck. Hold 30 seconds and switch sides, 3 times each.


  • Mid-back and shoulder blade pain: 
    • Reason why: looking down at baby, rounding shoulders to hold/cradle baby. 
    • Exercises and tips: Complete these exercises when you’re re-heating your coffee or tea. Prop pillows under your arms when sitting with baby so your arm and neck muscles can relax. Again, keep switching sides that you’re holding the baby on. 
      • Scapular retraction: In sitting or standing, squeeze your shoulder blades together/stick your chest out. Hold that squeeze for 5 seconds, 10 times. 
      • Tennis ball massage: Get a tennis ball and put it between your sore shoulder blade muscles and the wall. Lean against the ball until it’s a pressure that “hurts so good”. You can move the ball up and down, left and right, circles or just hold the pressure still. About 3 minutes. For an extra tip, put the ball in a pillow case to keep it from slipping out
      • Doorway/Pectoralis stretch: Stand in front of a doorway and lift your elbows above your shoulders and put your hands on the the right and left door frame. Gently, lean in so that you feel a stretch in your chest. Hold 30 seconds, 3 times. 


  • Wrist pain/ Elbow pain: 
    • Reason why: Flexing wrist to hold baby tight. Patting your baby to help sleep/ calm. 
    • Exercises and tips: Complete these exercises when taking your quick bathroom break. One last time, switch the arm/side you’re holding the baby on. 
      • Forearm stretch: With your arm out in front of you and your elbow straight, gently, use the other hand to pull your wrist and fingers back (palm and fingers extended) and hold for 30 seconds and then pull your wrist and fingers down (palm and fingers flexed) with another 30 second hold. Do this 3 times during your day. 
      • Bicep stretch: In standing, reach both arms behind you with straight elbows, turn palms down and lift your arms up towards the sky. Hold this stretch 30 seconds, 3 times.


Save this page on your smartphone or tablet to reference when you have a quick minute to do these exercises, or print them off using the download options below. We recommend leaving the printouts out where they are a visible and accessible to you – a quick reminder to do them between diaper changes! If you are still experiencing these New Mom Pains or any other symptoms, contact us for an appointment with one of our Women’s Health Specialists.


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