Physiotherapy In Pregnancy Essentials

Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you have to put up with back ache, pelvic girdle pain or other pregnancy-related problems.

Vicky Keates - Senior Womens Health Physio  - physiotherapy in pregnancy

Vicky Keates – Senior Womens Health Physio

Physiotherapy in pregnancy can really help women who are suffering from pregnancy-related problems to resolve or manage their symptons and/or make their pregnancy easier. I have been treating pregnant patients in South  Yorkshire privately and in the NHS for a number of years.  My services include:

  • specialist antenatal assessment and treatment
  • individually-tailored advice and home exercises
  • maternity support belts if appropriate
  • a holistic approach to physiotherapy care.

To book an appointment or just to find out more, please call me on 07887 791918. To arrange a free 5 minute phone consultation, if I don’t answer my phone just leave a message and I will call you back.

Back pain during pregnancy

My pregnant patients often tell me that they’ve been told it’s normal to have back ache in pregnancy: ‘What do you expect? You’re pregnant!’ .  I disagree.  It is true that back pain is common, but this does not mean that it should be, or that there is nothing that you can do about it.  Did you know that up to two thirds of women who are pregnant suffer from back pain?  Or that roughly one fifth complain of pelvic girdle pain (PGP), formerly called symphysis pubis dysfunction (or SPD).

Pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain

PGP involves pain over the pubic bone, across the hips or lower back which can also radiate into the groin, buttocks or thighs.  Pregnant women suffering from PGP can get pain or discomfort in any combination of these sites or all of them.  Unfortunately, the symptoms of a small proportion of women (approximately 5-8%) will be severe.  The good news is that some timely women’s health physiotherapy can help.
Back pain and PGP can have a huge impact on day-to-day activities during pregnancy.  Pregnant women suffering from PGP, for example, may have difficulty walking, going up and down stairs, turning over in bed or changing position, getting in and out of the car, pushing a shopping trolley etc.  If you’re working or are already looking after children, babies or toddlers, it can feel debilitating.  Yet there are so many things you can do either to manage the pain or make it better.  Just understanding what the problem is, what causes it and what makes it worse can be empowering. That’s where women’s health physiotherapy comes in: some education, (gentle) exercises and advice can arm you with the information you need to manage the changes to your body during pregnancy and reduce the impact of any problems or hopefully avoid getting them in the first place.

Causes of pregnancy-related back pain and/or PGP

Both back pain and PGP are affected by pregnancy hormones which loosen your ligaments (they’re the strong bands of connective tissue that hold your joints together) so that you can give birth.  This means that your pelvis and back (to a certain extent) have more ‘give’ as a result.  But if that’s all it was down to, then all pregnant women would complain of back pain and PGP.  In fact, research suggests that the cause is also biomechanical.  In other words, it depends how forces are transferred through your body during pregnancy.   So, for example, if you stand holding a small child on one hip, all the weight will go down one side of your body: your pelvis won’t be level and you won’t be aligned symmetrically.  If you’ve got PGP, this will make your symptoms worse.

Physiotherapy in pregnancy

That’s why women’s health physiotherapy focuses on improving posture and alignment so that your body is in the optimum position to take any strain.  I will teach you how you can use your muscles to support your back and bump, how to avoid developing problems with your tummy muscles separating and how to get your flat tummy back postnatally.  How you can change the way you do everyday things (like getting out of bed or standing up) to avoid aggravating symptoms.   And how to keep fit or exercise safely during pregnancy, for those who want to.  And, last but not least, I explain why it is so important to do your pelvic floor muscle exercises (to avoid problems with incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse in the future) and how to do them properly.

This entry was posted in back pain, Mothers, pelvic floor, Pelvic girdle pain, Pregnancy, rectus diastasis, symphysis pubis dysfunction, Womens Health Physio on twitter. Bookmark the permalink.

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