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Pre & Post Pregnancy Physiotherapies


Pre-Pregnancy Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy, also known as physical therapy, is an evidence-based technique that involves the science of movement to promote healing and holistic fitness. It includes a wide array of exercises and massages. 

While any person, irrespective of age and gender, can benefit from this technique, physiotherapy during pregnancy has well-defined advantages. 

Significance of physiotherapy for pregnant women

Our body produces a hormone known as relaxin. While both men and women form relaxin, this hormone is primarily produced in pregnant women. It is responsible for preventing any damage to a woman’s body during childbirth. 

The production of relaxin increases significantly during the second trimester. Primarily, this hormone is aimed at the loosening of the birth canal and preparing your body for childbirth. However, besides the birth canal, high levels of relaxin result in the loosening of other ligaments in your body. While on one hand relaxin facilitates the flow of blood, it leads to muscle, joint and body pain, on the other. This side-effect of relaxin is the fundamental cause of your lower back pain pregnancy. The transitory loosening during this period of pregnancy can make your muscles and ligaments weak for a long period of time. 

Physiotherapy during pregnancy is a helpful approach in dealing with the pain resulting from an increase in relaxin. This practice can assist in alleviating from muscle pain through the means of specific exercises and massages. The targeted exercises not only help in reducing pain but also maintain the strength of muscles. 

Antenatal physiotherapy can help in reducing pain and improving the strength of muscles. While a majority of pregnant women complain of the lower back pain, there are other areas that physical therapy can help with. 

Some common issues pregnancy physiotherapy can deal with are:

  • Upper back pain

  • Neck and shoulder pain

  • Sciatica (pain that radiates from lower back through hips and buttocks to the leg)

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (a condition that causes numbness, tingling, or weakness in your hand)

  • Pelvic girdle pain (pain in front and back of the pelvis)

  • Bladder issues

It is important to remember that the source of your pain and discomfort is the increase in levels of relaxin. However, the location of your pain can be unique. The role of physiotherapy in pregnancy is identifying the precise location of the pain and addressing it to minimise ache. 

Physiotherapy benefits pregnant women in multiple ways. The role of physiotherapy in pregnancy has both, long and short-term advantages. Some of the top benefits include:

  • Reliving lower back pain

  • Strengthening pelvic floor muscles

  • Preparing for labour and delivery

  • Assisting in posture changes during pregnancy

  • Relieving from carpal tunnel syndrome

Post-Pregnancy Physiotherapy

Almost within 48 hours of delivery most of the mothers are at their homes and the time taken to return to fitness varies according to the lifestyle and the type of delivery. It takes longer to recover from a cesarean section than from an uncomplicated delivery, the recovery also depends upon the fitness level of the woman. Besides visiting an obstetrician, the women should also be visiting a physiotherapist (the professionals trained in women’s health and incontinence). A physiotherapy session should be attended within the first 6 weeks. The physiotherapist plans designs and repeats the body movements to ensure fitness.

Doing exercises during the postpartum phase of pregnancy provides the following benefits;

  • Provides post-operative care for a cesarean section.

  • Strengthens the pelvic floor muscles.

  • Relieves perineal pain.

  • Strengthens abdominal muscles.

  • Prevention of back pain.

  • Improves fitness and decreases weight.

Exercise techniques used by the physiotherapist during the post-partum phase:

  • Breathing exercises.

  • Rom exercises

  • Pelvic floor muscles

  • Abdominal muscles

  • Diastasis recti

  • Relief of perineal pain

  • Postural correction

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