Even regular tasks such as sitting, walking, standing and working can be difficult when pregnant. Almost all women experience musculoskeletal discomfort during pregnancy, and as many as 25% of all pregnant women experience temporarily disabling ones. This is due to the tremendous changes undergone by the body during any healthy pregnancy. With Physical Therapy, techniques can be learned to help relieve the following conditions:
- Lower back pain caused by a shift in the mother’s center of gravity as the baby grows
- Neck pain and headaches due to changes in posture
- Tightness and pain in the hamstrings and heel cords caused by a flattening of the feet
- Arm pain or tingling caused by nerve compression associated with an increased chest diameter
- Bladder leakage during pregnancy and after delivery due to strained pelvic muscles
- Stretching of the abdominal walls leading to back pain and difficult delivery due to ineffective abdominal contractions
How Does Physical Therapy Help Pregnant Women?
Programs designed to treat the specific needs of a pregnant women are available. Bridget Faucher, PT, DPT, OCS specializes in issues associated with pregnancy can recommend exercises for pregnant and post-partum women after an assessment. An evaluation generally consists of an analysis of the following:
- Joint mobility
- Muscle imbalances and strengths
- Sensation testing
- Functional limitations
Physical therapists can teach you safe and effective ways of regaining your abdominal strength.
Below are some physical therapy techniques that may be incorporated in treatment sessions along with the benefits they produce:
- Pain management that will ease backaches, headaches, shoulder and neck aches that may be caused by muscle tension and shifts in posture to accommodate increasing weight
- Exercises to improve strength and mobility to decreases pain/pressure in the pelvic/hip area
- A physical therapist can alleviate the stress on weight-bearing joints, like the knees, which are impacted by the extra weight of a growing baby
- Exercises to help postural alignment and body balance
- Techniques to aid joint and soft tissue flexibility
- Stress relief and relaxation training promotes relaxation and deep breathing and better sleep and helps stabilize hormone levels by lessening anxiety.
- They can also help reduce swelling in such places as hands and lower legs
- Trial of maternity back braces and orthopedic support for the lower back
- Recommendations for sleeping positions
- Postpartum rehabilitation- Strengthening often enables women to better care for their child as well as care for their individual areas of discomfort as a result of childbearing.
The above treatments can also increase circulation, imprve digestion, and reduces fatigue.
Bridget Faucher, PT, DPT, OCS looks forward to treating you to help.