Pregnancy Physical Therapy: Taking Control

From the announcement of pregnancy to the delivery of a new baby, the journey of childbirth is an exciting one. Through all the pregnancy phases, a mother’s body endures some extraordinary changes, which often affect her musculoskeletal system for the long-term. There are obvious changes such as posture and weight gain. A pregnant mother’s body is also working harder than ever with increased blood volume, shifting organs and taxed circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems.

Many of the changes that a mother-to-be can experience resolve naturally. However, an appointment with a physical therapist (PT) might be needed to help either during pregnancy, after pregnancy, or both — especially if a mother is experiencing regular pain and discomfort. Despite a common misconception, PT is not just about rehabilitation and recovery. During pregnancy, PT can be extremely beneficial for pain management, swelling reduction, birth preparation, and even incontinence management. It can allow you to feel more in control of your body, your pain, and your pregnancy in general.

Exercise During Pregnancy

Exercise is typically a good thing when you’re pregnant. Even if you feel fatigued or get winded easily, exercise has a long list of benefits that make the struggle worth it. Expectant mothers who exercise often benefit from enhanced core strength, improved mood, maintained blood pressure and fluid retention. The list of benefits is equally long for the baby. You should take it slow if you need to, but unless your doctor instructs you otherwise, exercise should be a regular part of your prenatal routine. Just listen to your body and your doctor.

National Public Radio recently reported on updated findings from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, stating “Women without major medical or obstetric complications should get at least 20 to 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise — enough to get you moving, while still being able to carry on a conversation — on most days of the week.”

This advice is sound, but it can yield a lot of questions for expectant mothers. Especially given how unique each individual pregnancy can be. This is another area where meeting with a PT during pregnancy can be beneficial. A PT can assess you and your baby’s unique needs and then recommend a personalized exercise routine or activities you can do to maintain comfort while getting the aerobic activity that is so healthy and necessary.

The Top 10 Causes of Pregnancy Pain

Pain is an expected component of pregnancy. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing that can be done or that pain just needs to be accepted. When looking a list of the most common types of pain during pregnancy, most can be mitigated with a physical therapy regimen. The list includes:

  1. Sciatica

  2. Back pain

  3. General nerve pain

  4. Pain in the pelvic region and hips

  5. Coccyx pain

  6. Carpal tunnel syndrome

  7. Leg cramps

  8. Headaches

  9. Leg and foot pain

  10. TMJ flare-ups

In addition to pain management, your physical therapist can provide valuable education on how to move safely during and after pregnancy, including how to care for your infant and prevent lifting injuries. Today, strollers, car seats, and cribs have been made safer for children but at a cost of making it harder for a mom, dad or grandparent to be able to get the child in or out of each device without challenging their own body mechanics. PTs can help you practice the correct techniques to protect your body and understand the rules to keep you strong and pain-free.

Choosing the Right Physical Therapy Program for Your Pregnancy

Physical therapists are specially trained experts on posture and alignment. A therapist will assess your posture and provide suggestions on how to correct it, along with exercises to help strengthen your hip and core muscles. If you are looking for a physical therapy program, the American Pregnancy Association recommends paying attention to the following criteria. Make sure your therapist is:

  • Managed by a certified professional;
  • Focused on building strength, increasing flexibility and improving posture;
  • Encompassing home-based elements for you to do yourself; and
  • Proactively looking for any weakness, which may become a problem later.

Not only does the rehabilitation team at MOSH check all of the boxes above, but many of our therapists are moms, dads, aunts, uncles or godparents. We know where you’re coming from and where you’re going as a parent. MOSH can help relieve your pain and make your pregnancy journey enjoyable and full of excitement for you and your family. For more information about pregnancy PT, please contact us.