Congratulations on your pregnancy!
When you’re expecting, you can expect all manner of appointments to make: GPs, midwives, ultrasound appointments… the list goes on.
One appointment that many women overlook however is their appointment with their physiotherapist.
While injuries and chronic pain may make up the majority of our caseload, they aren’t the only things our physios in Highett treat. Physiotherapy as a profession is about treating and relieving pain and aches, no matter the cause.
In many cases, this includes pregnant women.
Common pregnancy pains
Many women simply put up with pregnancy-related pain, gritting their teeth and thinking, “that’s just what happens.”
As any mum-to-be knows, pregnancy can be quite challenging, and in some cases, quite painful too.
But what if we told you it doesn’t always have to be that way, thanks to your physio in Highett?
Many of our clients include pregnant women seeking relief from pregnancy-induced pain. That can include cases such as…
If you were to perform a survey of the most common pain experienced by women during pregnancy, we bet back pain would be the top answer.
It makes sense, really – a healthy woman can expect to gain anywhere between 11.5 and 16 kilos during pregnancy. Making this worse, the lion’s share of this weight is entirely carried in your front.
Naturally, this can put extra strain on your spine, leading to back pain. In some cases, it can also shift your posture, causing you to hunch forward and put further strain on your back muscles.
As with any other case of back pain, our physios in Highett will prescribe a range of treatments to reduce the strain on your back.
In particular, we’ll focus on manual therapy as well as strength-building exercises to help get you through your pregnancy.
During pregnancy, your body releases a hormone called relaxin. Like the name suggests, this hormone, well, relaxes.
More specifically, it allows ligaments and joints in the pelvic area to relax and loosen in preparation for childbirth.
An unfortunate side-effect of this is that this can also lead to instability and pain in the pelvis, pubic bone, lower back or thighs. This is often referred to as Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD).
1 in 5 women experience PGP or SPD at some point during their pregnancy. If treated and diagnosed early by your physiotherapist however, they can treat the pain and prevent this from causing any further issues throughout the pregnancy.
Women who have suffered from previous pelvic injuries, are having their second child, work a physically demanding job, or who have a higher BMI are especially vulnerable to pelvic problems.
However, it is important that a physiotherapist completes a thorough assessment to rule out or rule in the likely causes of your pelvic pain.
A physiotherapist supervised or modified exercise program using clinical pilates can certainly make the pain more bearable and in the meantime allow you to run errands and work without worrying about debilitating pain.
Carrying a child puts pressure on your abdominal muscles.
In some cases, it can even cause the two rows of abdominal muscles to separate altogether – a condition known as abdominal separation, diastasis recti or your DRAM.
This particular condition is especially common in 70% of women who are pregnant, if left untreated and without proper education and support this can continue to be an ongoing issue even after giving birth. Ideally, the first 6-12 weeks postnatal are crucial in drawing together your abdominal separation (when pregnancy hormones are still at their peak).
To prevent abdominal separation, a physiotherapist can prescribe strength-building exercises early on that fortify your abdominal muscles.
It’s important that this is started early in order to strengthen your abs as much as possible so that by the time the baby bump really starts showing, your body is prepared.
Physiotherapy can be a huge help during pregnancy – what many women don’t know is that it can also be a big help in recovering afterwards!
Our work doesn’t end once you give birth. Your physio in Highett can continue supporting you with postnatal physiotherapy.
Carrying a child and giving birth puts immense strain on your body, which can take a considerable amount of time to recover from. Your physiotherapist is trained to take into consideration the pregnancy and birth you had when helping you speed up recovery after giving birth.
In addition to treating pain during pregnancy, our physiotherapists are experienced in helping to restore your body to its baseline after delivering a child.
We will create a custom routine that focuses on rebuilding strength in parts of your body that may have been weakened by carrying a child, like your pelvic floor and core.
In addition, we will also target any lingering pain that may be sticking around.
All with the goal of leaving you stronger and more prepared for the task of raising your newborn!
Is physiotherapy safe for pregnant women?
When meeting with you for the first time, our physios in Highett sit down with you and do a deep dive into your circumstances.
This allows us to get the optimal result – by understanding your circumstances, we can craft a tailored treatment plan that targets your unique pain and which accommodates for complications, such as pregnancy.
Be sure to tell your physiotherapist right off the bat that you’re pregnant, as well as how far along you are.
This ensures that our treatment is safe for both you and your child.
What will your physiotherapist prescribe?
Depending on your needs, our physios in Highett can prescribe a range of treatments to help pregnant women like you, including:
- Manual therapy to keep your pelvic, hip, and spinal joints mobile
- Strengthening exercises for your stomach, back and hips
- Advice regarding physical activity and work
- Remedial massage that targets muscle pain
- Routine and technique adjustment to reduce the risk of further injury
- Equipment and aids such as bands and postural aids
Really, it all depends on what issues have sprung up during your pregnancy.
Depending on your case, we may focus on pain relief – alternatively, if you come to us early, we may instead focus on strengthening your body for the rigours of pregnancy.
Of course, being pregnant does change some things.
For example, certain treatments and techniques such as more strenuous exercises and dry needling are sometimes off-limits to pregnant women.
Pregnant? Talk to a physio in Highett
Pregnancy is truly a wonderful time. In many cases however, it can also be painful and uncomfortable.
Luckily, physiotherapy can help remedy this.
You can’t give your child the best possible start unless you’re in a good position, both mentally and physically.
Physiotherapy can help prepare your body for the pain and physical stress that comes with pregnancy, as well as the aftermath.
Get in touch with our team of physios in Highett for safe physiotherapy treatments tailored for the needs of pregnant women like yourself.