The Benefits of Physical Therapy During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a beautiful, exciting, blissful period that every mother-to-be cherishes with inexplicable joy. Feeling a new life growing inside your belly changes your perceptions and gives the world new meaning.

However, this delightful journey brings pain and discomfort into your everyday life. Your body endures multiple physiological and anatomical changes to nurture a new life and grow a healthy baby.

Abdominal separation, stretched pelvic floor muscles, lower back pain, and swollen ankles – you’ve heard it all before and may be experiencing it now. These are only some parts of pregnancy that may not make the adventure as enjoyable as it may seem.

Physical therapy might be the ideal solution.

Prenatal physical therapy can help your body adjust to new changes, helping you enjoy pregnancy, reduce the risk of complications, and welcome your little bundle of joy with ease. Here are the top benefits you can expect.

Reducing pain

According to the American Pregnancy Association, 50-70% of expectant mothers experience back pain. However, other aches also come into the picture.

As your baby grows, your center of gravity shifts, affecting your spine and joint alignment, straining your back, neck, and shoulder muscles, and negatively impacting your posture.

Your sciatic nerve might constantly feel the growing pressure from the uterus, making you experience lower back, hip, and leg pain.

Your sacroiliac joints loosen and expand, and your pelvic floor muscles stretch to accommodate your baby. There’s also abdominal pain due to round ligaments stretching as your uterus grows.

Physical therapy can help reduce back pain during pregnancy and all these other aches. It can help strengthen your muscles and joints and keep your spine in perfect alignment through various exercises and massage techniques.

Easing discomfort

Pregnancy brings heartburn, nausea, fatigue, swelling due to fluid retention, and other discomforts. That can cause stress and unwillingness to engage in everyday activities, making some days seem unbearable.

Falling asleep can even feel like a chore with all the increased pressure on your spine, back, and feet and other discomforts preventing you from getting a good night’s rest.

Prenatal physical therapy can address all those issues, helping you manage or get them out of the picture. For instance, it can include exercises for better posture, strengthening your metabolism, improving digestion and endurance, and reducing stress and fatigue.

Preventing urinary incontinence

Many pregnant women experience urinary incontinence during pregnancy – the involuntary loss of urine due to difficulty controlling the bladder. It’s an inconvenience, to put it mildly.

It happens because pelvic floor muscles stretch to accommodate a growing baby and make delivery seamless. They can expand up to three times their size.

Their loosening increases urinary frequency and urgency, often causing incontinence when you sneeze, cough, laugh, or exercise. Add to that your baby constantly pressing on your bladder, and you might have a messy situation that makes you want to stay home until labor.

Physical therapy includes exercises for strengthening pelvic floor muscles and managing urinary incontinence during and after pregnancy. It can also help prevent this annoying problem.

Ensuring smooth labor and delivery

Exercises like glute bridges for hip pain and others for improving posture, strengthening muscles, and aligning joints give your body the necessary strength for challenging labor and delivery.

Besides helping you strengthen your pelvic muscles, a physical therapist can teach you to relax them during labor and minimize the risk of perineal tearing.

Many positioning and mobilization exercises during prenatal physical therapy help ensure smooth labor and delivery. You can even perform them at home.

Let’s not forget breathing techniques, which are crucial for increasing oxygen, soothing your mind and muscles, and managing pain during childbirth.

Staying in shape

Staying in shape may not be on your priority list while pregnant, but it’s another benefit you can expect from prenatal physical therapy.

You won’t engage in intense training but targeted exercises to improve endurance and metabolism and prevent your body from storing excess fat. You’ll gain less weight and maintain a healthy fitness level, quickly getting your body back in shape after pregnancy.

Of course, these exercises are optional. Still, they’ll reduce the stress on your muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments, circling back to the pain-relief benefit.

Conclusion

Physical therapy can make your pregnancy more manageable and enjoyable and doesn’t have to end with childbirth. It can accelerate your postpartum recovery, helping you quickly resume everyday activities.

The Center for Total Back Care is your go-to clinic for custom physical therapy. We can devise the best treatment plan for your unique needs to help you enjoy the most extraordinary time in your life and welcome a healthy, happy baby into the world.

Contact us anytime to schedule a free consultation.