Physiotherapy For A Comfortable Pregnancy: How Therapy Can Help

Pregnancy can bring a variety of complaints including back and joint pain, pelvic floor discomfort, headaches, and more.  Because medication use is limited during pregnancy for the safety of the fetus, many pregnant women turn to physiotherapy to help ease their pain and other discomforts.  As with any manipulation of the body during pregnancy, it's important to be cautious when seeking physical therapy during your pregnancy, so be sure to choose a therapist with prenatal experience.  Once you do, you'll find there are many ways in which a visit to a physiotherapy specialist can make your pregnancy easier, and some of them may surprise you.

Back Pain.  Perhaps the biggest complaint of pregnant women everywhere, it should come as no surprise that back pain is one of the top reasons women seek out physiotherapy during pregnancy.  Back pain tends to get worse in the second and third trimesters as the baby grows and your center of gravity changes.  There are a number of reasons and possible treatments for back pain, but physiotherapy is among the most effective.  Massage, careful manipulation, and back exercises are among the tools a therapist will use to alleviate pain in your back.

Hip Pain. Particularly in the third trimester, many women experience pain and discomfort in the hips. Part of the reason for this pain is the same as the pain in your back - weight gain and distribution - but it's also due to the preparations your body is making for labour.  Your physiotherapist can teach you stretches and strengthening moves to help reduce hip problems.  In addition to general joint pain, sciatic nerve and round ligament pain are also common in this part of the body.  A good physiotherapist can help you adjust your posture as well as teach you soothe this pain.

Pelvic Floor Discomfort.  Your pelvis takes a lot of pressure during pregnancy, and will take a long time to recover afterwards.  Pelvic pain, discomfort, and incontinence can all result from the weight of the baby and the process of childbirth.  There's good news, though - studies have shown that physiotherapy can play a role in reducing pelvic pain as well as incontinence both during and after the pregnancy, leading both the Canadian Physiotherapy Association and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada to officially recommend it to pregnant women.  The earlier you start the therapy, the better you can expect the results to be.  

Easier Labour.  Believe it or not, a good physiotherapist can actually help make labour and childbirth easier.  Using the exercises a therapist teaches you, along with massage and other techniques, you can prepare your body for a smoother labour and even reduce recovery time afterwards.