By Nabila Jutha, Registered Physiotherapist
One of the most common statements I hear from moms that have gone through pregnancy is “I should have come earlier!”. So why are moms not coming in for pelvic floor physiotherapy?
Worried about safety during pregnancy?
Pelvic floor physiotherapy is a completely safe therapy to partake in during pregnancy. Think about it this way: you are still able/allowed to have intercourse while pregnant, so why not have someone testing out your pelvic floor whilst pregnant!? Having an initial visit to your physiotherapist around the second trimester is a great way to start.
Why Physiotherapy? Am I allowed to exercise? Should I stop?
Being active throughout your pregnancy is a great way to maintain strength and flexibility, while also preventing injury. A physiotherapist can instruct and educate you on safe exercises, movements, and activities that you can participate in. You can always stop or decrease these as your pregnancy progresses.
Are there really any benefits of physiotherapy during pregnancy?
There are many benefits to seeing a pelvic floor physiotherapist during pregnancy, such as the 4 P’s listed below!
How pelvic floor physiotherapy can benefit the pregnant mom; the 4 P’s:
• Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles correctly
• Prevent prolapse and/or urinary incontinence
• Education on proper posture and technique with activities of daily living in order to help prevent an injury or discomfort during pregnancy (ie. proper lifting technique, getting in and out of a car)
• Strategies for a better night’s sleep
• Activities and strategies to prevent diastasis recti (abnormal abdominal separation)
• Safe exercises
• Proper breathing during exercise
• Postural education “Mummy Posture”
• Treatment of lower back or hip pain during pregnancy
• Treatment of pelvic pain (during activity and rest)
• Addressing and treatment of postural pain
Preparation for Labour:
• Education on the birthing position that is best for you
• Breathing and pelvic floor relaxation strategies
• Perineum stretching (manual tissue work)
The 4 P’s outline the main reasons why pelvic floor physiotherapy can benefit a mom while pregnant! If you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms and/or characteristics, be sure to consult a pelvic floor physiotherapist. Through a careful and detailed assessment, externally and internally, pelvic floor physiotherapists can provide you with the confidence, education and exercise to help rehabilitate you to optimal health – this benefits both you and your baby.
Faghani, Nelly, and Carolyn Vandyken. Level 1: The Physical Therapy Approach to Female and Male Urinary Incontinence. Pelvic Health Solutions, 2017.
Faghani, Nelly, and Carolyn Vandyken. Pregnancy and the Pelvic Floor. Pelvic Health Solutions, 2017.