Prenatal physiotherapy care refers to care provided by a physiotherapist. Pregnancy takes a toll on women’s bodies. The changes in posture in addition to the ligamentum laxity caused by hormonal changes can cause back pain and other orthopedic conditions.
Expectant mothers may experience lower and mid back pain, muscle spasms, abdominal bulging, SIJ joint pain, bladder control problems, constipation or straining, and carpal tunnel symptoms.
About 40% of women experience urinary incontinence during pregnancy. This increases their risk for long-term incontinence post-natal. Risk also increases with more difficult deliveries, such as the use of forceps and prolonged delivery. Pelvic health physiotherapists help a pregnant woman with support for a pain-free or complication-free pregnancy. The physiotherapist designs a tailored treatment program consisting of pelvic floor exercises to prepare the body for childbirth, reduce pain and manage complications such as incontinence and organ prolapse.
Studies show prenatal pelvic floor muscle training will lower the rate of prolonged second-stage labor, reduced pregnancy-related low back pain, and pelvic pain. Just a few sessions with a pelvic health physiotherapist can help you develop better awareness and control of your pelvic floor muscles to prepare you for delivery. You will receive feedback on correct breathing, pushing, and pelvic floor muscle training to reduce urinary incontinence postpartum. Perineal stretching and internal muscle release will also help reduce the chances of tearing if you have a tight pelvic floor.
Pelvic floor physiotherapy is safe during pregnancy. In fact, the physiotherapist is specially trained to treat prenatal women.
If you have been told by your doctor that you cannot have intercourse, an internal exam is also contraindicated. You are still able to come in for a pelvic floor assessment and the therapist will assess without the internal exam.
In addition to medical care, an expectant mother requires the help of other health practitioners such as massage therapists, chiropractors and pelvic health physiotherapists to provide her with support for a pain-free or complication-free pregnancy. The prenatal care team assists by designing a program, tailored to their needs, to reduce pain. Manual therapies, deep massage, core stability muscle training, postural correction, and other techniques such as retraining, patterning, and positioning are just some of the prenatal care techniques a physiotherapist may recommend pregnant women perform.