A developing bump, pregnancy glow, good hair days are welcoming changes which pregnancy brings, along with a sense of happiness. They also bring with it a multitude of not- so welcoming changes to your body. Evidence shows that physiotherapy, in principle, is helpful in tackling these unpleasant changes and provide relief from certain pregnancy related conditions like pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, lower back pain etc.
Before we get to these conditions, lets understand why exercising is important and how does it affect you and your baby.
WHY SHOULD YOU EXERCISE DURING PREGNANCY?
Exercising during pregnancy has a positive influence, both, on the mother and the baby. It can also help during the postpartum rehabilitation period. It can ensure a comfortable nine months of pregnancy compared to not exercising at all. It is important to consult your obstetrician before starting any exercise regime.
Benefits for mom-to-be:
- Reduction in risk of developing gestational diabetes and pregnancy-induced hypertension
- Fewer obstetric intervention (forceps, vacuum extraction)
- Reduction in the ‘active stage’ of labor
- Quicker return to pre-pregnancy weight
- Reduction in bone density loss during lactation state
- Decreased incidence of ‘incontinence’ during pregnancy and postpartum
- Reduction in common pregnancy complaints (leg cramps, back pain, hemorrhoids etc.)
Benefits for the baby:
- Infants have less body fat at birth
- Infants are less cranky which in turn has reduction in the incidence of infant colic
- Greater neurodevelopmental scores in oral language and motor areas (tested at age 5)
Most women during pregnancy experience one or more of these conditions at different stages of gestation, at different levels of severity. Physiotherapy can help you deal with all these conditions for a smooth labor and easy recovery. Here are few pregnancy-related conditions that you may experience during your 9 months.
As your belly gets bigger throughout your pregnancy, the hormonal changes that cause the otherwise stable joints to ease up; because of which, the lower back and pelvis loosen up, preparing the body for a vaginal delivery. In turn, your lower back curves more than usual to accommodate the load – resulting in strained muscles, soreness, stiffness, and pain in the lower back.
Do you accidentally leak urine when you exercise, laugh, cough or sneeze? Do you experience a need to get to the toilet in a hurry?
Urinary incontinence is defined as a complaint of any involuntary loss of urine. This is due to the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles, which play a major role in bladder control, with the progression of pregnancy. As the pelvic floor muscles and the pelvis stretch and widen to accommodate the growing baby and its increasing weight, particularly in the final trimester, the muscles become weak and make it difficult to control the bladder.
Does it pain between your buttocks when you sit on a chair for long hours?
Coccydynia is commonly known as the Tailbone (Coccyx or bony area located deep between the buttocks above the anus) pain. It is caused due to inflammation of the tailbone manifested by pain and tenderness. Your tailbone is right behind your uterus and as the baby develops and gets larger, it's bones push against yours, causing discomfort. The other cause is the pregnancy hormones. They make the ligaments (support and connect bones) in your body relax anticipating a vaginal delivery during which the bones could shift causing discomfort and pain.
Carpel Tunnel Syndrome:
Do you have tingling sensation and numbness in your hands?
The carpal tunnel is a bony canal formed by wrist bones on three sides and a ligament that runs across the wrist on the other. Fluid retention and swelling which is common during pregnancy can increase pressure in the narrow space compressing the median nerve that runs through it. This pressure on the nerve causes a tingling sensation, numbness, pain or a dull ache in the fingers, hand or wrist, worsening at night.
Noticed any obvious gap in your stomach muscle near the belly button area?
It is the separation of your outer most abdominal muscles which creates a gap that allows your belly to pooch out. This may not be a painful condition but affects the physical appearance of your belly. You may still look pregnant even after you delivered your baby. Training your core abdomen muscles can help treat this condition.
Pelvic Girdle Pain:
Does it pain while moving your legs apart, especially when sitting, lying down or getting out of the car? Is turning over in bed painful?
Your pelvic girdle is the bony arched structure in your hip area that supports your legs - including the symphysis pubis joint, hip joint, coccyx, sacrum, and sacroiliac joint. Pain can occur during pregnancy when there is a mechanical problem within these joints.
Pelvic pain is likely to be caused by a combination of factors, including:
- the joints in your pelvis moving unevenly
- changes to the way your muscles work to support your pelvic girdle joints
- one pelvic joint not working properly and causing knock-on pain in the other joints of your pelvis
All the above conditions can be alleviated. Meet a certified physiotherapist today at the Birthplace to cope with these pregnancy conditions.