Prenatal physiotherapy – getting relief when you’re expecting
The benefits of prenatal physiotherapy are many. It can help you prepare for the birth process by teaching you how to manage your body in different positions and movements that will be required during labour and delivery.
Pregnant women who receive regular prenatal care have lower rates of complications, such as premature rupture of membranes, gestational diabetes mellitus and preeclampsia. They also tend to deliver their babies at full term with fewer interventions than those without prenatal physiotherapy.
In addition, expecting mothers who undergo prenatal physiotherapy may experience less pain and discomfort after giving birth.
Physical discomfort during pregnancy
There are many reasons why women may develop pelvic girdle pain and low back pain during pregnancy, but there are two main factors:
1. The increase in intra-abdominal pressure caused by the growing uterus pushing against the abdomen. This causes compression of nerves which leads to numbness and tingling sensations in the legs and feet. These feelings tend to worsen towards the end of the pregnancy when the uterus becomes larger than it was at first.
2. Changes in posture that occur as part of normal changes in body shape throughout pregnancy. The pelvis tends to tilt forward, causing lower back problems.
As a result of these two circumstances, pregnant women may feel symptoms such as:
Pain or tenderness over the sacroiliac joint
Lower back pain with sciatica symptoms - such as leg weakness and/or numbness down one side of the body
Tight muscles around the hips and buttocks, leading to difficulty walking
Sore knees from kneeling on hard surfaces for long periods of time
Increased risk of miscarriage due to increased strain on the ligaments supporting the uterus.
Additionally, as you get bigger, your belly pushes outwards into the space behind your ribs. If this happens to a significant extent, it can cause muscle spasms and trigger nerve irritation. It’s important to keep these areas supported so they don’t become painful. In these cases, prenatal physiotherapy can also provide much-needed relief.
What prenatal physiotherapy can treat
There are numerous health issues associated with pregnancy that may benefit from physiotherapy treatment - such as:
high blood pressure
vomiting and dizziness
During your consultation with our practitioners, we will run through whether you are experiencing any of these symptoms, and outline how prenatal physio may help relieve the severity of them.
From there, we'll help you feel the benefits of our physio techniques, including:
Better joint mobility
The rebalancing of muscles
Feelings of relaxation and stress relief.
Easing of pain and tension.
What Is prenatal physiotherapy?
This technique is used to improve function or mobility through a number of methods, including:
transcutaneous nerve stimulator devices
electrostimulation, and more.
What happens to your body when you’re expecting?
During pregnancy, there are many changes happening inside your body. Your hormones change, your weight increases, your posture alters and so do other things. These all affect how well you move and function. That’s why prenatal physiotherapy is important. Our physiotherapists use various techniques - like deep tissue massage, myofascial release, dry needling, trigger point therapy, joint mobilisation, stretching exercises and more - to improve mobility and reduce stiffness.
The goal of prenatal physiotherapy is to prevent injury and promote healing before childbirth, providing the mum-to-be with much-needed relief and a sense of comfort. However, it's important to understand that everyone is different, so what may work for one person may not be as effective for another.
How we can help
When you first visit out our clinic, our team will provide you with a thorough evaluation. This allows us to highlight common problem areas and determine the best plan of attack, including your treatment options.
We know that being active while pregnant can be challenging, but if you're suffering from back pain, then prenatal physiotherapy could prove beneficial. We'll discuss your individual needs at your initial appointment, where we'll assess your current level of fitness and movement patterns. From here, we'll design an exercise routine tailored specifically to meet your goals and requirements.
After your evaluation, we will provide you with guidance on how to best approach prenatal physio, keeping your medical history in mind throughout the process. If you have any additional health restraints, we will also make sure we are well aware of these when building you a holistic program.
At Sports Podiatry and Physiotherapy, we offer a number of maternity services for expecting mums. Get in touch with our helpful and supportive team to book in a consultation.