Physical therapy can benefit you both during pregnancy and after delivering your baby
In pregnancy your body goes through many physical and emotional changes which can lead to a multitude of aches and pains. Our Physical Therapists can help you.
Some of the major changes that occur include:
- Weight gain and fluid retention
- Postural changes that include a shift of your center of gravity
- Iincreased levels of hormones
- Decreased physical activity and stress
How do these changes cause my pain?
As you gain weight, your joints experience more stress. Your back and feet may start to ache. The fluid retention may contribute to wrist pain and swelling of the ankles.
As your baby and belly get bigger, your abdominal muscles stretch out or even separate (diastasis recti) decreasing their ability to contract and stabilize your back and pelvis.
Your center of gravity shifts forward causing the curve in your low back to increase and your upper back and neck to hunch.
As a result various muscle imbalances develop that can play a major role in your pain. The hormone relaxin makes your ligaments “lax” or looser to prepare your body for pregnancy and delivery. However this “laxity” can make your pelvis unstable, which can lead to pain.
Finally, the lack of time due to the juggling of work and life can lead to stress and decreased physical activity that can contribute to your pain as well.
How can Physical Therapy help during my pregnancy?
You will be happy to know that your therapist can address the specific pregnancy related causes of your pain.
As a medically based health care profession, we can work with you to develop a plan to identify and treat your ailments.
Our Physical Therapists are highly qualified in the area of manual or “hands on” therapy and can begin addressing your pain on your first visit with safe and effective techniques.
We can identify areas of weakness, poor posture and instability that have brought on your pain.
We can prescribe appropriate exercises and recommend changes in your body mechanics that improve your posture, muscle strength and endurance, better preparing you for the rest of your pregnancy, labor/delivery and beyond.
How can Physical Therapy help after my baby arrives?
A recent study published in the professional journal, Physical Therapy has shown that women that had participated in a once weekly physical therapist led exercise regime in addition to a health care and parenting education program, had better post-natal well being scores than women that had only the education alone.
In other words, the physical therapy and education together helped to improve test scores on the psychological well being, and post-partum depression symptoms questionnaires.
We can provide you with the right treatment and exercises to get your body back and help to make you feel like yourself again in both mind and body. Additionally if you are still experiencing any aches or pains in the post-partum period, our therapists can competently assess and treat them.