How Physiotherapy Helps During and After Pregnancy?

Both, a pregnant woman and a woman who just gave birth, need special and extra care. During pregnancy or post-pregnancy, the supporting ligaments of her body become softer and more elastic due to changes in hormonal levels. The pelvic floor muscles, as well as tummy muscles, expand when a child grows. It is normal to get leg cramps or a back injury in this period because the joints are less supported by ligaments. The loosening of pelvic floor muscles also leads to urinary incontinence.

Physiotherapy is a well-known medical treatment approach. It entails physical remedies like exercises, massages, electrotherapy, and heat therapy. This type of treatment approach is the perfect option, when it comes to treating health ailments or disorders during pregnancy. Most health conditions employ this remedy that never involves any surgery or medication which may cause severe damage to a mother and her child.

The ultimate objective for entailing physical remedies is to help an expecting mother deal with flexibility, mobility, circulation, respiration and even musculature. Before going ahead with an effective antenatal physiotherapy (physical activity) program, be assured that assessments are specifically designed to know which exercise best suits a ‘soon-to-be-mother’ as per her body needs. However, physiotherapists have some frequent complaints that most pregnant women experience right from the first trimester to the third trimester. These include:

  • Lower-Back Pain
  • Sciatica
  • Sacroiliac Joint Pain
  • Urinary Akrasia
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Benefits of Physiotherapy during Pregnancy

According to a Pilates instructor and health coach, Kate Marcin, “During pregnancy, joints loosen, and the balance becomes more difficult. Engaging in physical activities will help stabilize the connections at the joints, thereby preventing injury.”

The pregnancy period can be divided into three major trimester stages: the first trimester, the second trimester, and the third trimester. Each trimester covers three months. Before commencing the trimester physiotherapeutic activities, let us dive into some benefits employed for pregnant women in these treatment activities:

  • Physiotherapy helps reduce pains encountered during pregnancy.
  • It helps women adapt to bodily modifications during pregnancy.
  • It also prepares women for their delivery day, “the Big Day.”
  • This treatment boosts the muscle rehabilitation of the pelvic floor.

Treatment options during Physiotherapy

If you are willing to undergo physiotherapy during pregnancy, below we have handpicked some of the options for a mother that includes:

  • Pelvic floor muscle massages
  • Back pain physiotherapy
  • Core stability training
  • Posture training routines
  • Electrical stimulation during pregnancy
  • Training to improve flexibility
  • Stress relief massages
  • Muscle strain massages

Physiotherapy during First Trimester

The most reasonable care a mother can undertake for herself and her child is to stay fit and healthy. Even when she experiences morning sickness and other discomforts during the first three months of pregnancy, there is nothing better than getting up and exercising regularly. 

There is no denying that an expecting mother needs complete rest. But physical activities will never fail to help her maintain a healthy weight gain. Physiotherapy during pregnancy is also beneficial for toning muscle, boosting mood and getting sound sleep.

The first trimester is the best time to jump start low-impact exercises that a pregnant woman can do as her pregnancy progresses. If she runs three times a week before pregnancy, the first three months of pregnancy can be a head start to replace one of the running sessions with water workouts. Also, this simple trick can be quite beneficial when she finally drops running during her second trimester.

How to Begin?

  • If you are the type that never follows an exercise routine before pregnancy, this time is the best one to pick up a lifetime healthy habit.
  • Low-level exercises and 30 minutes workout a day is an excellent start. Physiotherapists are available to assist you with your physiotherapy during pregnancy.
  • A physiotherapeutic routine during the first trimester includes Pilates, walking, yoga, aqua aerobics, running and weight training.

Physiotherapy during Second Trimester

The second-trimester phase generally lasts between 4 to 7 months (14 to 27 weeks). Some drastic changes tend to occur in an expecting mother’s body, such as baby bump and weight gain. These changes are quite noticeable during the second trimester.  

 It is recommended to follow the same physiotherapy treatments as in the first trimester. The only intensity of physical activities is maintained, and some are either restricted or avoided during the second trimester. A mother can engage in safe pregnancy workouts, including walking, slow jogging, yoga, cycling, swimming and squats.

Physiotherapy during the Third Trimester

The third trimester period is considered the most delicate stage of pregnancy. During this phase, physiotherapy usually carries gentle exercises. Expecting mothers who conducted exercises from the first trimester are likely to derive many health benefits such as blood pressure regulation, mood control, cardiovascular fitness, weight control.

When pregnant women enter their third trimester, there are certain precautions they must follow to keep their baby healthy. They should seek assistance from a pelvic floor physiotherapist or a physical therapist before continuing any ongoing fitness program or engaging in a new fitness program. Besides, doctors strictly recommend low-to-moderate impact exercises.

Do not overdo it; take breaks if you feel:

Always keep your body hydrated during physiotherapy sessions and also during non-exercising times such as during any physical activitiy.

Engage a quality diet and not quantity after exercising and always keep to schedules and routines.

The Bottom Line

If you strive to keep up with the complications during pregnancy, staying fit and healthy should be your ultimate goal. However, it is more important to do these physiotherapy exercises cautiously and not arduously.

It is advisable to offer yourself a safe and sound environment under professional supervision by physiotherapists. For this, you should register yourself with one of the best medical institutions for antenatal classes.

 If you are willing to plan an individual exercise program during pregnancy and after pregnancy (postpartum), skilled physiotherapists can assist you with the same. Be assured not to execute any exercise alone, especially during your second and third trimesters.