For a baby to grow and develop during pregnancy, the body needs to adapt to many changes. While a certain amount of discomfort is to be expected, sometimes the pain can be severe. When this happens physiotherapy can help.
Approximately 80% of expectant mothers suffer from back, joint and pelvic girdle pain during and after pregnancy.
Pelvic girdle pain happens when the front or back pelvic joints become misaligned. Physiotherapy can help alleviate symptoms through a range of exercises designed to help improve mobility and strengthen the supporting muscles. In the case of pelvic girdle pain, physiotherapy can be used to ensure that the joints in the hip, pelvic and spine can move normally.
Our physiotherapists can also provide exercises designed to strengthen the muscles of the back, hip, stomach and pelvic floor as well as advising you on measures to take to minimise discomfort. As with most conditions, getting to physiotherapy early can help keep pain to a minimum and avoid long term discomfort
As well as addressing current symptoms, our physiotherapists can help prepare you for the stress of labour as well as help following the birth of your baby with advice for returning to fitness when you are ready.
Exercise has bundles of evidence that show it is incredibly beneficial during pregnancy. Benefits include an improved labour experience and reduced back pain. It also helps with recovery once you’ve given birth. During pregnancy the muscles around the pelvis are required to help support the growing bump, and Pilates exercises are a safe and effective way at targeting these muscles. Muscles include the gluteals, pelvic floor and deep abdominals.
Pilates is an excellent way to exercise in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Not only does it maintain your fitness and strength, it also helps strengthen your pelvic floor. A strong pelvic floor is needed during the prenatal phase and helps prepare the body for birth. After your baby is born, post-natal Pilates is also a great way to get back into shape and restore core strength. It is important to start your pelvic floor and deep abdominal exercises as soon as possible post-birth to help with recovery and treatment of condition post-partum issues such as diastasis rectus (sometimes referred to as ‘mummy tummy’).
Many of our team have undertaken clinical Pilates training and often use it in their sessions if appropriate. We do not currently run ante or post-natal classes at Capital Physio, but we are happy to recommend appropriate classes for you, please discuss with one of our physios if you are looking for a class.
Massage is an excellent way to reduce muscle tension and stress, helping the mother and baby to relax. It also helps ease aches and pains commonly experienced in pregnancy in the shoulder, neck, hips and lower back. It may also help reduce ankle and leg swelling often associated in pregnancy.
Massage used in pregnancy involves different techniques from those used in normal massage treatments. In pregnancy, one of the physiological changes that occurs is there is increased blood volume and the blood flows at a slower rate. Anticoagulant levels also increase to reduce bleeding during pregnancy. This therefore means bruising is more common as well as blood clots, so lighter pressures are used rather than deep tissue massage techniques.
During pregnancy it is very common for women to have swollen and heavy legs, hands and arms. Peripheral oedema is the most common and resilient manifestation in pregnant women. The best way to avoid it, is to have regular manual lymphatic drainage (MLD).
MLD is a very gentle form of massage to help with water retention (also known as oedema) and to support the body’s natural detoxification process. Oedema, or swelling of the joints during pregnancy, is often caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels by the heavy uterus. MLD helps to stimulate soft tissues to reduce the collection of fluids in swollen joints. This also improves the removal of tissue waste carried by the body’s lymph system.
For pregnant women, treatment is focused on legs, arms, hands, lower back, and face. This treatment is very gentle. We use light pressure as the lymphatic system is highly superficial. You will see a difference in one treatment. Depending on your goals, and condition, you could receive this treatment up to three times per week.
Our Physios have an in-depth understanding of what your body is going through and how to position you to ensure that you remain comfortable and safe during the treatment. If you have seen your midwife or GP about anything specifically please bring your pregnancy notes with you.