4 Ways Your Physiotherapist Can Care For You During Pregnancy
Mothers may not be surprised to learn that as an endurance event, pregnancy ranks alongside ultramarathon running and the Tour de France. Recent research into the limits of human endurance has revealed that ‘pregnancy is the longest duration, highest energy expenditure thing that humans can do.’
If you’re in training for or have already embarked on one of human kind’s most intensive physical challenges, congratulations! We’re here to help you stay comfortable and as fit and healthy as possible.
Our physiotherapist Caroline Sui has a particular interest in pregnancy and women’s health, if you find yourself among the 77% of pregnant women who experience lower back pain or the 74% who seek help for pelvic girdle pain (PGP) Caroline is here for you.
Here are just four of the many ways a skilled physiotherapist can help you enjoy a healthy, comfortable pregnancy.
Support to stay aligned
Pregnancy puts pressure on your alignment and posture as your body adapts to accommodate and then deliver your child. Changes in the loading and alignment of your spine and your weight bearing joints are key contributors to the back pain, pelvic girdle pain and headaches in pregnancy.
Weight gain and your baby’s intrauterine gym sessions are the two most obvious sources of discomfort. Add the softening effect of the aptly named hormone called Relaxin, and your body may need support to manage the changes. Relaxin loosens your ligaments to allow you to deliver the baby through your pelvic floor. It can also cause other ligaments to relax and this can affect the support and stability of weight bearing joints causing back and knee pain.
Physiotherapists are trained to help your body get and stay aligned before during and after pregnancy.
Relief from pelvic girdle pain (PGP)
You may experience PGP in the area around your pubic bone, your hips or lower back or in referred pain in your legs and buttocks. You might also feel or hear grinding and clicking in your pelvic joints. Walking, climbing stairs, turning over in bed, getting in and out of cars and standing on one leg to get dressed can often trigger PGP.
Physiotherapy can improve your pelvic joint position and stability to ease pain. Your physiotherapist will choose the treatments most appropriate for your body including, manual therapy to support your pelvic joints, hips and spine to move normally and
exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor, stomach, back and hip muscles.
These tips for managing PGP may also be helpful.
Relief from back pain and headaches
Lower back pain and sciatica in pregnancy can result from some or all of the following things. Weight gain and fluid retention, a shift in your centre of gravity as the baby grows and changes in your muscles and ligaments.
Although it may occur earlier, sciatica is more common in the third trimester. A growing baby can compress your sciatic nerve causing a numbing tingling sensation in your legs or lower back. Physiotherapy aims to support and stabilise your spine and your posture to relieve back pain and referred leg pain caused by sciatica.
Tiredness, muscle tension and changes to your posture can give you a headache. Besides being spinal health experts, our physiotherapists are skilled in treating headaches using gentle manipulation and massage techniques for necks and shoulders. They can also teach you a set of simple exercises you can do at home.
Prepare for birth (and beyond)
Caroline can also support you to prepare for delivery. With her knowledge and experience, she can help you learn how to push correctly during childbirth to reduce your risk of post-natal pelvic issues.
Furthermore, she can advise you on protecting and strengthening your back to prepare for all your post-natal bending and lifting.
Add a skilled physio to your pregnancy support team. Book an appointment with Caroline.