Pregnancy is one of the most intense changes that occur in the body. During it, hormones change, the structure of the body adjusts, and physical demands increase. All of this can leave a person struggling with pain and discomfort. In some situations, it may even lead to injuries. For some, physical therapy while pregnant may be the ideal solution. It is a natural, safe way to improve the function of the body and relieve pain and discomfort.
Can I Do Physical Therapy While Pregnant?
Physical therapy, performed by a licensed professional, may help women through their pregnancy and in recovery later. While it is safe to do, many people don’t know it’s an option.
Beginning therapy while pregnant can help relieve the aches and pains that develop while carrying a baby. This helps keep mom more comfortable and more prepared for labor and delivery. We can also continue care after the baby is born. This time is commonly called the “fourth trimester” and physical therapy can be a big help during this time to help with healing and a return to good movement.
In physical therapy, conservative interventions are used to help provide pain relief, improve mobility, or accomplish other goals. This is done through the use of specific exercises and manual therapy. Various focuses are available, such as helping to improve symptoms of muscle pain or for women struggling with back pain or leg cramping. Many pregnant women struggle with spinal pain from the changes in their bodies due to the growth of the baby.
If you plan to engage in physical therapy while pregnant, be sure you choose a licensed practitioner who has experience working with pregnant women. Physical therapy can target very specific areas, but to be effective and safe, a professional needs to modify movements to accommodate the needs of the mother.
The Benefits of Physical Therapy While Pregnant
Physical therapy while pregnant can provide help in a number of ways. After an assessment, the right treatment plan can be developed to meet the individual needs of the patient. Some of the ways physical therapy may be applied to pregnancy include the following:
Pain reduction: Physical therapy can help muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other components of the body to function as they were designed. This may help to reduce the pain sensations that travel from the area of concern to the brain. For those with pain in any form, pregnancy physical therapy can help to soothe those aches without the use of medications.
Adjustments to Daily Life: During pregnancy, the growth of the baby can cause a wide range of changes in a person’s daily life. New areas may be experiencing stress and strain. You may be having trouble accomplishing tasks at home as you used to as a result. You also have to accommodate for the sudden movements of the child. Physical therapy may help to reduce some of the discomfort that comes from doing things differently.
Improving Labor and Delivery: When the time comes for labor and delivery, you’ll need all of the strength possible for delivery. Taking part in physical therapy prior to labor and delivery gives you the chance to increase strength and practice techniques that make the process smoother. Often, physical therapy focuses on improving the abdominal muscles, the hips, and the back, all with the goal of ensuring your body has all it needs to deliver your child. Your physical therapist can help you prepare for what’s to come.
Fluid Retention: For women that struggle with fluid retention during the pregnancy, physical therapy may offer some help. It can help to reduce lymphedema through the use of compression and massage techniques. This is very safe, and it can help you have an easier time throughout the pregnancy.
In addition to these areas, physical therapy may be able to offer very specialized treatment of areas of concern. For example, a large number of women develop carpal tunnel during pregnancy. If that happens to you, your therapist can help develop treatments that focus on this area. For other women, incontinence is a concern. If you have other medical conditions, like multiple sclerosis, physical therapy can help you to better manage your symptoms.
Relieving Pregnancy Pain with Physical Therapy
Though it may be a joy to carry your new treasure with you, it certainly causes changes in the body. This often leads to sore and strained muscles and pinched nerves. By far, pain relief is one of the best reasons for engaging in physical therapy while pregnant.
The process may include the use of stretches and exercises designed to help specific areas of the body where pain occurs, such as the joints or lower back. Working to strengthen pelvic muscles and the muscles around the spine may also help to reduce aches and pains.
You can work closely with your physical therapist to create a treatment plan designed to provide you relief, including through:
- Flexibility improvement
- Posture improvement
- Joint alignment techniques
- Building muscle strength
- Reducing nerve involvement
The same principles that apply prior to pregnancy can also be applied after during your recovery phase. Our team works closely with our clients to create a treatment plan for improving the way their body functions after giving birth. This includes helping muscles to tighten up and aiding in reducing posture problems. A comprehensive treatment plan can address what’s happening in your situation, giving you the relief you need.
How to Choose the Right Therapist for Pregnancy Physical Therapy
Take the time to understand who can help you with this type of physical therapy. While many receive basic training in this area, others focus specifically on pregnancy related physical therapy. Choose a professional that is willing to listen to the way you feel each day. Then, they should work with you to create a treatment plan to address your specific needs. At Rock Valley Physical Therapy, our team is dedicated to helping you. Take a closer look at what we do and the advanced techniques we use to accomplish these goals. Let our team help you through this complicated part of your life. Contact us now for an appointment.