Pregnancy is beautiful, but it’s not easy for everyone. Pregnancy puts your body through many physical changes that can cause pain and discomfort. While a pregnancy takes nine months, the symptoms can be overwhelming and feel like they never stop. The good news is that physical therapy can help.
While physical therapy is often utilized by people who have sustained an injury or have long-term medical conditions, it can be an effective treatment option for the pregnancy symptoms that take a toll on your body. What are the benefits of physical therapy during pregnancy? That’s what we’re here to answer.
Read on to learn about the physical symptoms that a pregnant woman can struggle with as well as the benefits that physical therapy can offer during the course of a pregnancy.
How pregnancy affects the body
A pregnancy may center on a human who’s being grown inside the uterus, but it can affect you mentally, emotionally and physically. There’s a long list of pregnancy symptoms that a woman can have, and nearly everyone will have a different experience. The symptoms stem from a variety of changes such as hormonal changes, uterine expansion and weight gain.
Here is a list of the most common physical pregnancy symptoms:
- Vomiting and nausea.
- Back pain.
- Frequent urination.
- Reduced mobility due to swollen ankles and hands.
The most common physical symptom of pregnancy, specifically in the first trimester, is nausea. Research shows that about 80% of pregnant women report feeling nauseous.
7 benefits of physical therapy for pregnancy
The goals of utilizing physical therapy during a pregnancy are to help alleviate the symptoms that are interfering with your quality of life as well as help your body prepare for giving birth. Physical therapy during pregnancy will typically involve a treatment plan that consists of exercises and manual therapy.
There are a variety of benefits from physical therapy that can help pregnant women, including:
- Pain management — As the baby grows, your center of gravity changes and your spinal cord has to adjust to support the weight. This can cause back pain, especially in your lumbar spine region, or lower back. A physical therapist can help you strengthen your back muscles and adjust your posture for proper alignment to help alleviate back pain.
- Reduced stress on joints — The additional weight that you gain during pregnancy can cause excessive stress to be placed on the joints in your knees, hips and ankles. A physical therapist can help you strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints to increase their support and decrease the pressure placed on them. By reducing the stress placed on your joints, you can alleviate the pain stemming from them.
- Increased flexibility — By improving the flexibility in your back, hips and abs, you can prepare your muscles to hopefully contribute to a smooth delivery. Increasing your flexibility can also improve your range of motion and alleviate pain that stems from tight or sore muscles.
- Strengthened pelvic floor — Your pelvic floor consists of muscles along the bottom of your pelvis to hold your uterus, bowels and bladder. Pelvic floor dysfunction is common during and after pregnancy due to weakened muscles, which can cause urinary incontinence. A physical therapist can walk you through exercises that will boost the strength of your pelvic floor muscles.
- Movement coaching — As your body changes during pregnancy, it can be harder to move around and accomplish the daily tasks that you need to do at work or home. Incorrectly doing a movement can increase the chance of injury. A physical therapist can show you how to properly accomplish everyday movements and stretches while pregnant to reduce the risk of injury and pain.
- Reduced carpal tunnel syndrome — Did you know that more than 60% of pregnant women develop carpal tunnel syndrome? A physical therapist can help reduce the symptoms of pinched nerves in your wrist. They can walk you through wrist exercises as well as apply manual therapy techniques to decrease pain and weakness.
- Accelerated postpartum recovery — After you have a baby, it can take time for your body to restore its pre-pregnancy strength, flexibility and function. Postpartum physical therapy can help your body recover from giving birth, such as strengthening your abdominal muscles.
Back in Motion can provide benefits during pregnancy with physical therapy
Pregnancy puts your body through a lot of changes. Physical therapy can provide a treatment plan of exercises and techniques that not only help alleviate your symptoms, but also help your body during childbirth and the postpartum recovery as well.
Contact us today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.