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Real Money: 5 common new mom injuries (and what to do about them)
Have you ever heard of mother's wrist? Don't worry, I hadn't either ... until I became one. In fact, I had no idea about the plethora of aches, pains, and ailments I'd experience during the first few months as a new mom – completely unrelated to -- you know -- the actual act of giving birth.
Read on for five common new mom injuries – from mother's wrist to back injuries to breastfeeding issues – and how your FSA can help offset the cost of treating them. And as always, be sure to consult with your doctor before pursuing any sort of medical products or treatment.
For the record, it's called De Quervain's tenosynovitis (memorize that - you'll be quizzed later) This condition is caused by holding your baby with your wrist bent, or overuse of your wrist and thumb. You know, from the around-the-clock feeding, burping, and changing of your new bundle of joy.
While I've read that resting your overused wrist is probably the best way to cure De Quervain's tenosynovitis, that's probably not in the cards for any new mom. So, try sporting a wrist brace or an acupuncture wrist band during the day. Then once your baby goes to sleep, apply a cold compress – all FSA-eligible, of course.
For at least the first six months, your baby's sole source of transportation will be, well, you. If you're blessed with a baby who hates any sort of carrier (like me, for example), then you'll be carrying the baby the old-fashioned way – cradled in your arms.
Then, once they get more head control, you'll likely balance them on one hip. These carrying positions can really do a number on your back, especially if you have a 23-pounder like I do.
This issue can be compounded by the simple fact that your back likely isn't back to normal after the last trimester of pregnancy. Did you know your spine actually changes shape when you're pregnant to help balance out your bump? Not to mention what happens during labor and delivery. Ouch.
Luckily, massage therapy and chiropractic care are both FSA-eligible if your doctor recommends them to treat your condition (remember to have them put that in writing in case you need it for FSA reimbursement). Can't bear to leave your baby? Give it your best shot. Carving out some time for self-care is a good thing for both of you.
You may have your hips to blame for your newly-minted motherhood backache. Most moms carry their baby primarily on one side, and it can shift the alignment of your hips. Add all the lifting you'll be doing as a new mom, from transporting your little one in and out of his crib, bouncer, or activity gym, and you may really find your hips out of whack.
My suggestions for solving your hip pain? Try taking an appropriate dosage of breastfeeding-friendly acetaminophen. Or consider physical therapy if the pain gets unbearable. Bonus: both are FSA-eligible (acetaminophen will require a prescription).
Yoga is another great way to get your body back in alignment. While not typically FSA-eligible, if you're solely doing yoga to treat your medical issues, speak with your FSA administrator about what they might be able to cover.
Some experts estimate that 20% of new mothers experience some sort of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, including postpartum depression (PPD), postpartum anxiety/OCD and postpartum psychosis. That's why it's important to pay attention to how you feel after bringing your new baby home.
If something doesn't seem right, or you have thoughts of hurting yourself (or your baby) then seek help immediately. It's nothing to be ashamed of – your hormones are on overdrive after being pregnant, giving birth, then becoming a mother. Don't be afraid to seek FSA-eligible mental health therapy if you think you might benefit from it.
Unlike what you've been led to believe from the serene images of a mother breastfeeding her new baby, it's hard. If you choose to breastfeed, you may struggle at first with your baby's latch, which can lead to painful, bleeding or cracked nipples. Fun, right?
Let's say you get past that. It's smooth sailing for six months or so. You're nailing this whole breastfeeding thing. Then your baby pops his first, adorable tooth. You take approximately 167 photos of said tooth. You can't help it; it really just adds to his already off-the-charts cuteness.
Then one day while breastfeeding, you feel a sharp pinch. You yelp, then realize your sweet, innocent baby, whom you've been sustaining and nourishing purely from your own body for months, (years, if you count pregnancy) has bitten you.
Don't panic. Items ranging from breast pumps and accessories to breast pads to nipple shields are also FSA-eligible.
Now, if only your FSA covered the cost of wine…