During pregnancy, women's bodies go through significant changes. Most will experience pelvic pain, back pain, urinary incontinence and other conditions. Here, our Orleans physiotherapists will explain how prenatal and post-natal (after birth) physiotherapy can help with preventing pain and recovering from childbirth.
Physiotherapy to Treat Prenatal & Post-Natal Pain
Pre-natal physiotherapy and post-partum physiotherapy can play a critical role in prevention, treatment of and recovery from pain for pregnant and postpartum women.
Women's bodies go through significant, even remarkable, changes during pregnancy. The centre of gravity shifts as she gains weight, which puts more pressure on internal organs. This often leads to many orthopedic, neurological and pelvic issues during the pre-natal and post-natal stages.
Here are some of the most common conditions pregnant women report:
- Joint pain
- Bladder prolapse
- Abdominal separation
- Pelvic misalignment
- Pelvic or back pain
- Blocked breast ducts
- Numb, tingling and painful hands and fingers
- Varicose veins and swollen ankles
Even before pregnant women's bumps begin to show, major changes are occurring in their bodies. Posture and how the body moves changes.
Muscles, ligaments and soft tissues become more flexible and the amount of weight pressure on their joints increases. This elasticity and flexibility allows the pelvis to stretch to accommodate the growing baby. These shifts are triggered by hormonal changes, all of which are essential to the health and development of mother and baby as the body prepares itself to give birth.
Why do some women experience pain and discomfort during pregnancy?
While not every woman will experience pain and discomfort during pregnancy, many have risk factors that mean they will be more susceptible to these symptoms. And, it need not be a reason to reconsider becoming pregnant if you had planned to.
Women with a previous history of pelvic floor dysfunction, pelvic girdle pain and lower back pain are more predisposed to experience these kinds of pain during pregnancy and post-partum phases.
Being overweight, along with being pregnant and giving birth (vaginally or by c-section) seem to put women at increased risk for urinary incontinence, while a family history of pelvic organ prolapse, increased age and number of deliveries seem to be associated with higher risk for this condition.
Weakness in the pelvic floor muscles, repetitive constipation and straining, repetitive heavy lifting and obesity may also contribute to pelvic organ relapse.
How can prenatal and post-natal physiotherapy help prevent and treat these conditions?
Preparing the abdominal area, lower back muscles and pelvic floor before and after pregnancy are essential steps in preventing and alleviating prenatal pain and setting the stage for a good recovery.
If you experience any of the symptoms listed above during and after your pregnancy, our physiotherapists in Orleans can evaluate your specific circumstances and the factors contributing to your pain or discomfort.
We can help you prepare for labour and delivery with a range of physiotherapy treatment options designed to:
- Maintain pelvic alignment and symmetry to reduce pain
- Strengthen and lengthen the pelvic foor muscle to minimize pain and improve continence and mobility
- Optimize birthing positions to leave as much room as possible for the baby to come through the birth canal
- Prepare the vaginal connective tissue and pelvic floor muscles with perineal care and stretching to prevent and minimize tearing
- Minimize pain of musculoskeletal conditions that pregnancy, labour and delivery can exacerbate
- Provide education for expectant mothers on pain management and discuss fears, concerns and labour goals to help calm stress and anxiety
Post-delivery reconditioning focuses on safely and progressively returning various parts of the body to pre-pregnancy and or delivery function most impacted by pregnancy, labour and delivery.
Your physiotherapist may prescribe an active core strengthening program, including specific pelvic floor muscle strengthening exercises to correct back or pelvic dysfunction.
Additional treatments may include massage, joint mobilizations, stretches, acupuncture, myofascial release and heat.
Prenatal & Post-Partum Physiotherapy at Motion Works Physiotherapy Orleans
Every woman is unique, and every pregnancy is different. At Motion Works Physiotherapy Orleans, our specially trained physiotherapists can help you navigate your personal pregnancy and post-pregnancy experience by helping you prepare for a safer, healthier delivery - and heal afterwards - with prenatal and postpartum physiotherapy (sometimes referred to as parental therapy).
We treat health issues related to pregnancy, delivery preparation and postpartum recovery. Our physiotherapists offer private, compassionate pelvic physiotherapy care.