Pregnancy and Physiotherapy

Pregnancy is a wonderful time where you begin your journey as a mother. It is amazing how much your body grows and changes everyday. Because of these rapid changes, some women experience some discomfort in various parts of their body. Luckily, physiotherapy treatment can allow you to feel fit, active and healthy and can help your body accommodate the rapid growth of your baby.

Pelvic Girdle Pain

This is probably the most common complaint from pregnant women, particularly in the second trimester where the baby leaves the pelvic region. It is an umbrella term for pain in the pelvic region. Most women commonly feel this around the pubic bone or the sacroiliac joints (SIJ), which are the joints connecting the spine to the pelvis. These issues arise because the pelvis bears the load of your baby, as well as the rest of your abdomen. Some women find that their body cannot cope with the rapid growth of their baby, as the muscles around their pelvis are not strong enough to assist with this increased load bearing requirements.

Thoracic Stiffness

As your body prepares for motherhood, many changes occur. One of the first symptoms most women experience when they discover they are pregnant is enlarged breasts. This is mainly due to the increase in hormones flowing through your body because you are pregnant. The extra weight at the front of your chest, however can lead to stiffness in the upper back. In some cases, this can cause secondary neck pain and even headaches. It is important to treat this early, as when you eventually have your baby, your breasts will continue to grow as your milk comes in.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The carpal tunnel is the region around the wrist joint where tendons, nerves and blood vessels pass through. When you are pregnant, the body retains more fluid due to the increased blood flow requirements for your baby. The fluid is usually seen in the legs, feet and ankles, however some women experience swelling in the hands and wrists as well. If the fluid enters the carpal tunnel, this can lead to tingling in the fingers and wrist pain, as the nerves and blood vessels become encroached in the space.

What can be done?

All of these issues can easily be treated by physiotherapy. Manual therapy is a fantastic way to provide you with fast pain relief. Your physiotherapist can also provide you with advice to prevent further aches and pains, and may decide to use taping or bracing to allow you to continue your daily activities in comfort. One of the most important things to do while you are pregnant to prevent pain is to exercise. Clinical Pilates is a safe and effective way to exercise while you’re pregnant to reduce and prevent pain. It is also a great way to prepare your body for labour – the stronger you are the better you’ll be able to cope!

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