Pregnancy is a time of wellness accompanied by tremendous musculoskeletal, physiological and emotional change. Many women experience these physical changes along with pain and discomfort but these feelings can actually be reduced by training and preparing certain muscle groups for pregnancy.
Your Musculoskeletal Changes During Pregnancy
As your baby grows your pelvic floor muscles descend and stretch becoming strained. Your abdominal musculature also stretches and most moms sustain Diastasis Recti (ab separation). Lastly, your growing belly causes your center of gravity to be pushed forward, tilting your pelvis and creating an extra large curvature in your lower back. You then lean backwards to compensate for the forward push from your baby. This leaning backwards ends up shutting off your gluteal (butt) muscles thus taking away your most powerful muscles that aid in being upright and moving. Although there are many more muscular and skeletal changes that occur these 3 just mentioned are the breeding ground for lower back, hip, knee and even foot pain. These 3 impairments also create the ultimate triangle of poor posture which can prevent you from achieving your pre-pregnancy body again.
Understanding Your 4 Core Muscles
Your core isn’t just your abdominals. Think about your core as a house. The top or roof is your diaphragm, that large muscle that helps us breath. The foundation is your pelvic floor which supports your internal organs. The front door is your abdominal muscles. The back door is the your back and butt muscles (glutes). In this analogy, it is extremely challenging to be safe in your home if you don’t have a solid roof over your head, a solid foundation for your house to be built on, and of course, secure front and back doors. To keep your body strong and safe, during your pre-partum and post-partum physical therapy treatment, our physical therapists will test each of these areas and create a custom treatment program to prevent your body from injury and pain.
Physical Therapy For New and Expecting Moms
During your PT treatment, your physical therapist will evaluate potential causes of your back, pelvic and other pain to provide a custom treatment program based on your needs and goals. Your treatment may include manual therapy, postural correction and hip strengthening. After you have a child, your pelvic floor and core muscles become very weak. Our physical therapists will work with you to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and develop a custom therapeutic exercise program to strengthen your core and surrounding muscles.
Pelvic conditions treated by physical therapy include:
• Urinary incontinence
• Stress UI
• Urge UI
• Mixed UI
• Pelvic Pain Syndromes
• Chronic Pelvic Pain
• Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome
• Pudendal Neuralgia
• Vulvar Pain
• Musculoskeletal Dysfunction Pre- and Post-Partum
• Low Back/Abdominal/SI Pain
• Diastasis Recti
Common Pre-Partum & Post-Partum Physical Therapy FAQs:
What is the best time to start physical therapy? Should I wait until after delivery or do I start while I am still pregnant?
We recommend expecting moms to begin working on her core throughout her pregnancy make post-delivery recovery easier. However, many patients come to us post-baby and we are able to tailor a program to help her achieve her pre-baby body. During your physical therapy treatment, we will assess your 4 core muscles to see how they are affected by your pregnancy. We will also look at your pelvic alignment, rib alignment, breathing capacity and hip mobility and will provide you with a custom individualized program tailored to your specific unique body.
The program will build upon concepts of activation, stabilization and strengthening for your core to enhance your posture and make you feel more secure, stronger, lighter and even taller. Your change in posture will help you stand taller and flat bellied.
I had a C-Section. Is physical therapy still needed for me?
Yes! We highly recommend moms who had a C-Section to come to physical therapy. Many woman either by choice or medical necessity undergo a C-Section. A C-Section unfortunately leads to an even harder time to restore your body back to its normal self because your abdominal muscles weren’t just stretched but they were cut into. Although having a C-Section can lead to a longer recovery process, our post-partum physical therapy are always custom tailored to each mom. We will assess areas affected by your C-Section and create a custom program to address your post-C-section body.
Our physical therapists work with every mom to strengthen pelvic floor muscles and develop custom therapeutic exercise programs to repair and restore areas that have undergone so much change. Give us a call today to schedule your pre-partum/post-partum physical therapy appointment.
It’s time to focus on you! Contact us to schedule your physical therapy appointment.