What is Pre-Natal Physiotherapy?

During pregnancy your body experiences dramatic physiological changes. These are natural changes, but they may have a significant impact on the pelvic floor muscles and ligaments as they become softer, allowing your baby to grow and your body to change. 

Your center of gravity will change as the hollow in your back increases, breasts enlarge, and your overall weight increases.  Your abdominal muscles become stretched decreasing their ability to contract and keep your lower back in proper alignment.  Your pelvic floor muscles become strained with the increasing weight of the baby. Everyday tasks such as sitting, walking, standing, and working can become difficult when pregnant.

Pre-Natal Physiotherapy

Almost all women experience some musculoskeletal discomfort during pregnancy, and as many as 25% of all pregnant women experience debilitating pain. Up to 70% of pregnant women also experience stress urinary incontinence.

Even if you are not experiencing any discomfort or issues, prenatal physiotherapy can help prepare your body and train the muscles and supporting tissues for the birthing process.

Prenatal Physiotherapy

Some common conditions you may experience during pregnancy include:

  • Pelvic girdle/ Hip/ Groin/ Pubic pain
  • Lower back/ Sacroiliac joint (SIJ) pain/ Sciatica
  • Thoracic/ Rib pain
  • Pelvic floor weakness and Urinary incontinence
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

As every pregnancy is different, our experienced physiotherapists will design a specific program to suit your needs. Based on your assessment, your treatment may include assessment and strengthening of the pelvic floor and core muscles, joint mobilisations, massage, an exercise program to maintain flexibility and strength, education and advice.

Common Pregnancy Related Complaints:

  • Swelling secondary to increases in blood volume and decreased abdominal circulation
  • Foot pain due to ligament laxity and decreased arches 
  • Low back, sciatic, tailbone, pubic bone, or pelvic girdle pain 
  • Neck pain and headaches due to changes in posture and alignment 
  • Arm pain or tingling caused by nerve compression associated with an increased chest diameter and postural changes 
  • Urine leakage due to strained pelvic muscles 
  • Varicose veins involving the vulva

Postnatal Physiotherapy

Post pregnancy (vaginal or caesarean), there will be a degree of weakening of your pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles are vital for continence, pelvic stability and sexual function and they are adversely affected through pregnancy and delivery. To prevent long term problems, it is essential to start pelvic floor exercises as soon as possible. Postnatally you will find yourself holding your baby in sustained positions and doing lots of lifting, which can lead to many aches and pains. Common problems experienced postnatally include:

  • Stress and urge incontinence
  • Pelvic and Lower back pain
  • Upper back and Neck pain
  • Diastasis Recti (Abdominal separation)

Your Postnatal MOT will include:

  • Internal pelvic floor assessment
  • Pelvis, SIJ and Lumbar spine assessment
  • Diastasis recti (abdominal separation) assessment
  • Return to sport assessment
  • Scar assessment

Treatment may include an individualised pelvic floor program, abdominal and core strengthening, treatment of any musculoskeletal issues found, scar tissue management and advice on return to sport, nutrition, sleep, posture and ergonomics.

Ideally a Postnatal MOT should be performed from 6 weeks postnatally (after you have had your GP check-up), but even if your pregnancy was years ago, it’s never too late!

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