More and more women are having children in their late 30s and early 40s. Women who have children are at a lower risk for osteoporosis, said Azalea Orthopedics surgeon Matthew Jones, MD. But keeping that in mind, good prenatal health helps ensure that the nutrients needed by the baby don’t present long-term health issues for mom.
Once baby arrives, it’s important to tone muscles to encourage our body to return to its pre-pregnancy weight and shape. Sometimes the “baby fat” just doesn’t go away. Bigger feet and wider hips may never fully retract. An exercise program and good nutrition help parents cope with the physical and emotional demands of parenting and building a healthy attitude about body image, whatever our shape.
“The load from every extra pound we carry, whether it’s the baby, diaper bag, or extra post-partum weight, goes right to our knees and feet,” Dr. Jones said. “Balance the load as much as possible and use a stroller.”
Dr. Jones suggests wearing low-heeled shoes to maintain a good, low center of gravity and balance to reduce the chance of falls.
Also avoid getting up from the squatting position. “The kneecaps get a real workout [from squats], and you’re putting five times the pressure on them for every pound you lift,” Dr. Jones said. “A 20-pound child puts a 100-pound load on the kneecap, which can cause injuries, especially as we age.”
People with knee cap injuries should avoid exercise equipment such as the StairMaster, deep knee bends, squats, and 90-degree bends.