Childbirth and the pregnancy process can be incredibly hard on the body as it undergoes dramatic hormonal and physical changes. Not only do these processes have an impact on the body of a new mother, they can also impact their moods, causing postpartum depression. Here, our Orleans physiotherapists explain how we can help.
Many people reluctantly accept that health issues including back pain, wrist pain, pelvic floor dysfunction, urinary incontinence and SI joint pain as simply part of having been pregnant and as being part of their life for the rest of their lives. However, this doesn't have to be the case!
It's been proven that a whole host of symptoms associated with pregnancy, including injuries, conditions and other health issues, can be treated through physical therapy modalities.
But the ways in which physiotherapy can help new mothers don't end with the concrete physical impacts of pregnancy on their bodies. There is increasing evidence that physiotherapy treatments and prescribed exercises can have a positive impact on the mood and resilience of new mothers against the initial "blues" that often follows childbirth as well as postpartum depression.
How can physiotherapy help my body recover from my pregnancy?
When specialized to the needs of new mothers, physical therapy can offer a number of methods in order to help them recover strength, good health, control over their bodily functions, and flexibility.
The following are some of the specific treatments and exercises that post- and pre-natal physiotherapy can help new mothers return to their normal routines and activities quicker while avoiding the health issues which many assume are unavoidable:
- Acupuncture / Dry Needling
- Post-natal Yoga and Pilates
- Manual Therapy (Joint & Tissue Mobilizations)
- Active Physiotherapy for The Pelvic Floor
Ask your physiotherapist about how any of the above activities or treatments may be able to help speed your recovery from childbirth and pregnancy. Your Nepean physical therapist will be able to create a treatment plan tailored to your specific health needs.
How can physiotherapy help to manage my mood after childbirth?
During the period of time shortly after giving birth to a child, new mothers' bodies go through a series of drastic physical and hormonal changes as they adjust to no longer being pregnant. This period of time is called postpartum, or the postpartum period.
You may have heard this word used most often in reference to postpartum depression. While a few weeks of feeling "off" or "blue" is quite normal after giving birth to a child while your hormone levels adjust to no longer being pregnant, up to 13% of women in North America experience an episode of depressive moods commonly called postpartum depression.
If you start to notice thoughts and behaviours in yourself that may indicate postpartum depression after giving birth such as mood swings, anxiety, crying, irritability and sadness, your first course of action should always be to seek the advice of a medical professional, whether they be your family doctor or a licensed therapist.
Where physiotherapists come in should be a bit later down the road.
It is a common belief that physical activity can have outsized benefits on the mental health and well-being of an individual who is struggling with mental illness. And, while physical activity is never a one to one substitute for working with medical professionals to manage your mental health conditions like postpartum depression, postpartum physiotherapy that is conducted under the supervision of a physical therapist can offer some benefits, including the following:
- Helping to improve your health and mood
- Targeting the physical impacts on your body of your recent pregnancy to help you recover quickly
In fact, a 2010 study showed results that indicated that group physical activity under the supervision of a physiotherapist had significant positive impacts on the general well-being and depressive feelings of new mothers.
Ask your doctor and your physiotherapist about how physical therapy and activity may be able to help with your recovery and maintenance of your mental health as your adjust to life with a new baby.