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How Physiotherapy Can Help Expectant and New Mothers

During and after pregnancy, every woman goes through her own emotional and physical changes. Several physical changes can create discomfort in a pregnant woman, and even after she has given birth, she might still need some help with pain management. Fortunately, expecting mothers and women who have just given birth can alleviate pain and pelvic issues with physiotherapy treatment in Toronto. Let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of why physiotherapy is important during and after pregnancy.

Why is physiotherapy important during pregnancy?

When a woman becomes pregnant, the second and third trimester brings instant changes, including weight gain and physical discomfort. Here are important reasons why physiotherapy is essential for pregnant women:

  • From the first stages of pregnancy to delivery, the body of a woman goes through major changes.
  • Health surveys say that physiotherapy helps reduce risks and complications associated with pregnancy and childbirth.
  • During this period, women often suffer from pain and discomfort in the muscles and joints of the pelvis, lower back and hips.
  • Physiotherapy helps women prepare their bodies for labour and relief from discomfort.
  • Physiotherapy provides emotional support and strengthens the body muscles.

Prenatal Physiotherapy

If you’re expecting or have already given birth and want to visit a physiotherapist, here’s what to expect on your first visit:

  • The physiotherapist will do a detailed internal and external assessment of your body. They will also discuss any health or medical issues you have and look at health history before and after your pregnancy.
  • They will create a custom physiotherapy plan that can incorporate treatments that give you a better labour experience.
  • Prenatal physiotherapy can improve body and muscle strength and reduces pregnancy-related issues.
  • Your personalized prenatal physiotherapy treatment plan will involve breathing and pregnancy-related stretching and strengthening exercises that will assist in a comfortable childbirth and reduce postpartum risks.
  • Physiotherapists teach you skills and techniques such as rhythmic movement, retraining, patterning, positioning, etc.
  • Prenatal physiotherapy can assist with controlling pelvic floor muscles.

Prenatal Care Techniques that Physiotherapists Recommend for Pregnant Women

  • Manual therapies are useful in reducing pelvic and lower back pain during pregnancy.
  • Deep massage therapy improves the blood flow, reduces stress and muscle stiffness in the body of pregnant women.
  • Core stability muscle training involves core exercises that strengthen the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles needed during pregnancy.
  • Postural correction maintains a woman’s correct posture. A good posture is important during pregnancy to reduce pain problems and provide an easier birth experience.
  • Chiropractic treatment involves a manual technique for establishing pelvic balance, reducing pain and discomfort in the back, neck and joints during pregnancy.
  • Clinical pilates and yoga help improve flexibility and reduce mental stress experienced during pregnancy.

Benefits of Physiotherapy for New Mothers

Not only does physiotherapy help pregnant women prepare for childbirth, but there are the amazing health benefits of physiotherapy for new mothers who are in their postpartum phase:

  • Physiotherapy assists in postpartum rehabilitation and the overall emotional well-being of new mothers.
  • Strengthens the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles.
  • Physiotherapy reduces postpartum pelvic and back pain.
  • With physiotherapy treatments, women can improve body flexibility, muscle, urinary, and sexual functioning.
  • Manages bowel movement and helps in bladder control.
  • Physiotherapy prevents scar tissue adhesion.
  • It helps new mothers return to their daily routines and activities by assisting their bodies to feel ‘normal’ again.
  • Special care is given to new mothers who have delivered through c-section.
  • Physiotherapy reduces weight gain after child labour.
  • Helps new mothers develop better sleep patterns.

Postpartum Physiotherapy

Postpartum is the phase after a woman has given birth to their baby. After pregnancy, a woman’s body may experience a number of conditions that a pelvic health physiotherapist can treat. Let’s take a look at the stages of postpartum physiotherapy:

  • Postpartum physiotherapy aids in faster recovery from the discomfort and ailments experienced after childbirth.
  • With postpartum physiotherapy, women experience weight loss and strengthen the pelvic muscles.
  • It helps with pain recovery and reduces stress by restoring a woman’s body health and functioning.
  • Physiotherapists do a screening test for postpartum risks and identify if the new mother has any risks.
  • Will offer a custom treatment plan which includes postpartum exercises for healing.

Recommended Postpartum Techniques for New Mothers, Along with Physiotherapy:

  • Massage therapy is a recovery technique that reduces postpartum swelling and relaxes the body muscles, improves blood circulation, and breastfeeding.
  • Posture education maintains a woman’s posture after birth by keeping your back and spine healthy.
  • Pelvic floor strengthening involves specific exercises that target the pelvic floor by helping restore core muscle strength to recover after childbirth.
  • Chiropractic care helps with reducing body pain, headaches, and upper back pain.
  • Acupuncture involves thin needles that stimulate specific points on the skin that help reduce body stress and postpartum depression.
  • Exercise therapy and kinesiology incorporate exercises that help improve a woman’s mental health and reduce pelvic pain and urinary incontinence.
  • Pilates and yoga techniques combine postpartum workouts to regain the strength of core muscles needed for postpartum recovery.

How to Choose a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist

Like choosing the right gynecologist or family doctor, choosing the right physiotherapist close to your home and accommodating your needs is important. Here are some useful tips for selecting the most suitable pelvic floor physiotherapist:

  • Choose a physiotherapist who specializes in pelvic floor physiotherapy.
  • Check the physiotherapist’s credentials and how many years they have been in practice.
  • Select a registered physiotherapist who practices in a licensed clinic and has positive reviews.
  • Check to see if the physiotherapist offers full-length appointment facilities.
  • Select a physiotherapist who offers both external and internal physical therapy.
  • Do your research on the physiotherapist’s social media and other health and medical forums for their opinions.
  • Ask your family doctor, friends and relatives to refer a good pelvic health physiotherapist.

Simple Health Tips for New Mothers To Follow Along with Physiotherapy

Becoming a new mother is a new chapter in a woman’s life that requires some healthy lifestyle changes. Here are some effective tips for new mothers to follow while attending physiotherapy:

  • Get plenty of rest and sleep
  • Eat healthy and nutrient-rich foods such as leafy greens, fruits and lean meats for protein.
  • Drink 8 glasses of water every day.
  • Attend follow-up doctor appointments after pregnancy.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
  • Do not lift heavy objects.
  • Hire a cleaner to take over your weekly cleaning tasks.
  • Get regular exercise from 4 – 5 times a week.
  • Ask for help from family members to take care of your baby for some time for yourself.
  • Do yoga and meditation to stay calm and relax your body and mind.

Physiomobility is a group of like-minded physiotherapists & health professionals located in North York, Ontario. Established in 2005, we offer the best pelvic health physiotherapy in Toronto, located in CF Shops at Don Mills’s medical building. If you would like to set up an appointment with one of our physiotherapists, call us at 416-444-4800 or contact us here.

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