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Understanding pregnancy physiotherapy and its benefits

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What is Physiotherapy?

A department of medicine called physiotherapy examines human movement. It lessens discomfort and encourages healthy movement through physical therapy. Physiotherapists are medical specialists with training in assessment, diagnosis, and therapy planning to assist restore optimal bodily functions.

Increasing joint mobility, improving muscle and tendon flexibility, and reducing stiffness are common objectives of physical therapy. Another method for preventing injuries and increasing muscular tone and strength is physiotherapy.

Physiotherapists can specialize in a variety of fields, such as pediatrics, musculoskeletal rehabilitation, and sports medicine. Physiotherapists specializing in women’s health are focused on pelvic floor and pelvic problems as well as pregnancy.

 

Why would I require physiotherapy while I’m pregnant?

When a woman becomes pregnant, she frequently visits a physiotherapist for the first time. Physiotherapy during pregnancy, also known as prenatal care, helps to ease discomfort in the major joints that are frequently strained during pregnancy.

Pregnancy-related musculoskeletal issues that are most frequently observed include pelvic girdle pain. It usually happens as a result of postural adjustments and elevated pelvic pressure brought on by the baby’s weight. Since hormones weaken the ligaments that support the pelvis, they also play a significant role in the development of pelvic girdle discomfort.

Additionally, receiving physical therapy during pregnancy lowers the risk of:

  • Birth trauma
  • Urinary incontinence throughout pregnancy and after delivery: around 50% of pregnant women report having lower back pain, and up to 67% of them report leaking pee when they laugh, sneeze, cough, or exercise.
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction, which includes problems with prolapse during childbirth, incontinence, and sexual dysfunction.
  • During your pregnancy, you could ask our physiotherapist to visit you to address new concerns or prevent problems. Finding out about beneficial labor and delivery professions might also be advantageous. A baby can be positioned more optimally for labor and delivery by adopting certain positions throughout pregnancy.

 

Which physiotherapy procedures are commonly used?

Upon our initial visit, the physiotherapist will inquire about any potential medical concerns you may have. They might suggest exercises and employ a variety of methods to help you move better and feel less uncomfortable. A series of consultations is often required to examine the efficacy of a treatment plan and assist in its development.

Typical methods used in physiotherapy are:

  • massage or ultrasonography to specific body regions; manipulation of certain joints; muscle stretching (usually side and front stretch, a “cat” stretch, and pelvic circles with guidance on how to move that won’t exacerbate a current issue).
  • exercise guidelines
  • suggest donning compression pants or a supporting belt.

 

How can I know if I require physical therapy?

It may be unclear if consulting a physiotherapist will be beneficial. For many women, some degree of discomfort is just part of being pregnant. Nonetheless, a customized workout regimen can frequently assist in lowering a variety of ailments, enhancing a woman’s mobility, and enhancing her delight in her pregnancy.

When you’re pregnant, you could experience changes in the strength of your pelvic floor and have trouble holding on to your pee. Urine leakage can be prevented both before and after childbirth by participating in a rigorous, supervised pelvic floor exercise program.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a frequent but less well-known pregnancy issue. This is brought on by elevated fluid levels, which put more strain on the median nerve that supplies the fingers and wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome is characterized by tingling or numbness in the hand or fingers, edema, and weakness that makes it difficult to hold onto objects. Splints, hand movements that are avoided, rest, and stretches of the median nerve and tendon are some of the physiotherapy interventions for carpal tunnel syndrome.-

Physiotherapy is helpful for more than simply pregnancy. Women of all ages should practice pelvic floor exercises, especially during pregnancy and after giving birth.

Back discomfort is a frequent side effect that many pregnant women encounter. You can get advice from a physiotherapist on how to keep proper sitting and standing posture.

Diastasis, or the expansion of the abdominal muscles, is another common pregnancy problem. When moving or rising from a lying down posture, this change will be felt by approximately 66% to 100% of women, who will also notice a gap down the middle of their stomach. Exercises for the abdominal muscles can improve core strength and muscle tone.

 

Does receiving physiotherapy while pregnant carry any risks?

In general, with our licensed and certified physiotherapists, there are no dangers. Following a massage and deliberate movements, there may occasionally be a brief increase in muscular soreness. Our physiotherapist will provide you with guidance on how to handle any discomfort and what to anticipate.

 

Where can I locate a physiotherapist?

You can visit a physiotherapist on your own, or your maternity care provider can recommend one to you.  But to be at ease, you can always choose physiotherapy at home from our services.  

What advantages does physical therapy offer a pregnant woman?

Pregnant women can benefit from physical therapy in several ways. Physiotherapy during pregnancy has benefits in the short- and long-term. Among the main advantages are:

  • Reliving lower back pain:

Your body adjusts in the early phases of pregnancy to allow for the growth of your unborn child. It keeps getting ready for delivery even more. Your ligaments soften and stretch as a result of their attempt to support you during this voyage. At the same time that your child grows inside of you, you get bigger and weigh more. Your body’s center of gravity shifts forward as a result of this weight gain, putting more strain on your lower back. Lower back pain during pregnancy can be reduced with physiotherapy and exercise.

  • Developing stronger pelvic floor muscles:

It’s common knowledge that pregnancy causes increased urination. Your body will have a greater blood flow when you are pregnant. Your kidneys have to work harder to filter the excess fluid released by this increased blood flow, which makes you pee more frequently. Urinary incontinence, however, can also occasionally result from excessive urination and weak pelvic floor muscles. One extremely common pregnant side effect is incontinence. By providing pelvic floor exercises, physiotherapy can aid in the reduction of incontinence by strengthening muscles. Pregnant women can train their bladders with a variety of exercises, including kegel exercises that you can learn from a certified physiotherapist. 

  • Getting ready for labor and delivery:

Although a pregnancy may go easily, giving birth is an extremely demanding experience. To give birth to a fully developed baby and induce labor naturally, your body has to be extremely strong and flexible. Pregnant women are recommended to constantly maintain physical activity levels due to the requirement for strong core muscles and flexibility (unless directed otherwise by the doctor). Physiotherapy is a useful substitute for repetitive exercises. You can learn how to push during delivery from a physiotherapist. A variety of pelvic floor exercises can also be performed to help you get ready for labor and delivery. 

  • Helping with postpartum posture adjustments:

As was previously mentioned, pregnancy can cause a shift in your center of gravity. Your uterus can shift slightly forward because of the increased strain on your lower back. Similar to this, a weakening of the lower back muscles may lead to a forward bend in the mid-back, shoulders, and neck. Your posture may alter as a result of these muscles shifting positions. One useful medical intervention for improving posture during pregnancy is physiotherapy. 

  • Relieving carpal tunnel syndrome:

One of the most common adverse effects of pregnancy is carpal tunnel pain. This medical disease results in tingling and numbness in the arm and hand. Because the wrist area is rather tiny, the increasing blood volume in your body during pregnancy might cause nerve compression. Your hand and arm may become numb, painful, or tingly due to this nerve compression. Physiotherapy targets pain control and regular blood flow to treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Pregnancy physiotherapy according to trimester

Physiotherapy and exercise throughout pregnancy also change as the three trimesters of your pregnancy progress. 

  1. First trimester:

During the first trimester, you are still getting adjusted to the changes that pregnancy brings about. The goal of your nutrition, physiotherapy, and physical exercise is to help you adjust to these changes. The first thing your physiotherapist will do is tell you and your spouse about what to expect from changes in the mother and fetus.

For the first three months of treatment, your physiotherapist concentrates on your posture, problems at work and home, and any pre-existing musculoskeletal issues.

Our physiotherapist will gradually help you to make posture corrections at home and work. The individual in question will provide you with safe lifting and mobility skills and address any musculoskeletal issues you may have been experiencing. 

  1. Second trimester: 

By this point in the pregnancy, you are fully acclimated to the drastic changes in your body and hormones. During the second trimester of pregnancy, physical therapy assists you in adapting to these changes.

Following the conclusion of the anomaly scan and with approval from your main doctor, our physiotherapist will begin workouts.

Stretching methods are the main focus of physiotherapy during the second trimester to increase pelvic and lower limb flexibility. You will be directed to perform abdominal and spine strengthening and mobility exercises. This pregnancy exercise focuses on pain management while also improving fitness.

  1. Third trimester: 

Your physiotherapist will concentrate on strengthening and increasing flexibility during the final three months of your pregnancy. You will receive support in developing labor coping mechanisms, including breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, labor-facilitating posture, and pushing techniques.

During the third trimester of pregnancy, physical therapy includes advanced abdominal and spine strengthening, pelvic floor exercises, methods to increase pelvic and lower limb flexibility and pain management. 

 

Pregnancy Physiotherapy’s Function

Fortunately, women in developed nations have access to state-of-the-art medical care. The outcomes of research on pregnancy and pregnancy-related issues that help women plan for a family are readily available to us. We get to write our own birth story and have a significant say in how we experience pregnancy and labor. Women can choose how they want to feel about being pregnant, where they want to give birth, who will help, and whether or not they want to receive medical interventions during their pregnancy.  

A woman’s body undergoes significant changes during pregnancy. You can notice all the changes, such as the weight gain and the contour change as the breasts and baby bulge enlarge. Women’s posture is also impacted by developing pregnancies, which might result in back or pelvic girdle pain. You might not notice some effects, such as the sensations and emotions brought on by hormone fluctuations. Additionally, stress incontinence, which results in bladder leaking when a pregnant woman coughs or sneezes, might also affect her.

Although you may believe that these problems are “normal” and a necessary aspect of being pregnant, they are not always the case. A women’s physiotherapist can assist with evaluations like the Mummy MOT for recently arrived mothers.

One of the resources accessible to women to enhance their health and well-being throughout their pregnancies, as well as their delivery experience, healing, and postpartum health, is antenatal physiotherapy.

Pregnant women who receive physiotherapy during their pregnancy report much-improved health and well-being both before and after giving birth, according to studies on women’s health physiotherapy.

The pelvic floor is a specialty of women’s health physiotherapists, and pelvic floor health has a major role in how well women experience pregnancy, childbirth, and beyond. Thus, physiotherapy plays a major part in maintaining and enhancing women’s health throughout pregnancy.  

 

FAQs

Is physical therapy safe to receive while expecting?

Yes, physiotherapy is an entirely safe and efficient way to exercise, relax, and manage discomfort during pregnancy.

How is physical therapy beneficial during pregnancy?

The advantages of physiotherapy during pregnancy are numerous. It facilitates physical activity for expecting mothers, eases tired muscles, builds muscle mass, increases flexibility, and provides pain relief.

Is it advised to work out when pregnant?

Yes, it is advised that pregnant women exercise for approximately 30 to 40 minutes a day in order to ensure a safe and easy pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

Who is not supposed to work out when pregnant?

Exercise should be avoided by pregnant women with severe anemia, long-term heart or lung problems, placenta previa, or other difficulties.