Pelvic Physiotherapy, Pregnancy and Childbirth

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Countless women will tell you that pregnancy is the most blissful part of life. However, there will also be a good percentage of those who hide their burdens under the baggy garments they often drape themselves in.

It is baffling that even today, around 50% – 80% of pregnant women suffer from low back aches and a plethora of pregnancy-related aches and pains that often go unchecked, leading to staggering dysfunction, later in life and sometimes even disability.

This is exactly where we come in. At The Rehab Nest, we are here to solve all those issues and restore you to your pre-pregnancy state.

Why Do Pregnant Women Need Physiotherapy?

With the onset of pregnancy, the hormone “relaxin” is produced by the ovaries and the placenta. The main function of this hormone is to loosen and relax the pelvis and widen the cervix in preparation for childbirth.

As pregnancy progresses, relaxin begins to pile up in the bloodstream of women, leading to a good deal of side – effects, like muscle, joint and body pain. Relaxin continues to circulate in the system of postpartum women as well, predisposing them to muscle and joint injuries.

Regular visits to a physiotherapy clinic during pregnancy and also after it, result in increased blood flow to muscles and joints, washing away the build-up of relaxin and any other harmful toxins. In addition, the practice of regular light exercise is a great way of ensuring increased strength and flexibility of muscles and joints.

Pre and post-partum women stand to gain from regular physiotherapy visits as a skilled pelvic physiotherapist is probably the only person who can access any aches and pains, treat them and also craft an exercise schedule to strengthen the involved muscles and ensure that the problem does not reappear.

How Can Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy Benefit Pregnant Women?

From a pelvic physiotherapist’s point of view, there are 4 P’s that rule the pelvic physiotherapy department. Read on to know more.

Prevention

Prevention is better than cure, they say, and here at The Rehab Nest, we kind of agree with that. Listed below are a few preventive measures you can have in place when you visit a pelvic physiotherapist during your pregnancy:

  • Strengthening and elongation of pelvic floor muscles in preparation for the added weight during the later months of pregnancy.
  • Education of the mom to be on posture to prevent injuries or discomfort during pregnancy.
  • Strength training for the abdominal muscles to prevent diastasis recti

Physical Exercise

Obviously, we are big on exertion and physical exercise that leads to an increase in your daily activity and improved overall health, but we prefer to take it up a notch during pregnancy. So here are a few exercises you may be advised to carry on during that burgeoning time.

  • Breathing exercises to assist at the time of labour
  • Practising light and safe exercises during the course of pregnancy is always advisable.
  • Postural exercises
  • Relaxation exercises to open up the pelvis and birth canal

Pain

Managing pain becomes important as the pregnancy progresses. The added weight of a swiftly growing baby is bound to lead to some structures being put under undue pressure. Knowing how to deal with pregnancy-related struggles guarantees a good postpartum recovery.

  • Assessing and treating low back pain
  • Assessing and treating pelvic pain
  • Assessing and treating any pain that arises from injuries or wrong posture

Preparation for labour

Women spend a long time in anticipation of giving birth but are somehow terrified of labour and delivery. Having one of our pelvic physiotherapists around during the final months of pregnancy will ensure easier labour and faster delivery as your body is better prepared.

  • Perineal massage and stretching
  • Kegel’s exercises to ensure a strong core
  • The practice of breathing and relaxation techniques
  • Teaching pain management techniques
  • Education on the different birth positions that can be tried out to assist in a natural delivery.

What Kind of Conditions Can Be Treated by Pelvic Floor Physiotherapists?

Listed below are some common ailments that women might suffer from during or after childbirth. All of them can be easily managed by a pelvic physiotherapist.

  • Lack of strength in the pelvic floor
  • An overactive pelvic floor
  • Bladder or uterus prolapse
  • Sexual dissatisfaction
  • Lack of core stability
  • Lower or upper back problems

What Is Pelvic Rehabilitation?

In simple terms, pelvic floor rehabilitation is a group of techniques and exercises that your pelvic physiotherapist will use to help you overcome your issues. They might include, one or more of the following:

  • Pelvic floor muscle retraining
  • Manual “hands-on” techniques
  • Bladder and bowel retraining
  • Trigger Point Therapy: This is a simple technique of using thumb or knuckles to release the trigger points in the tight areas. Near the pelvic region.
  • Kegels Exercise: This is a form of exercises used popularly for strengthening of Pelvic Floor by contracting and relaxing them. This exercise can help relieve pain during sex and control urinary incontinence. A Simple 10 min practice on daily basis can help the patient avoid all these.
  • Electrical Stimulation: This is techniques which helps to reduce pelvic pain and muscle spasms. An Electric Stimulator is usually used for the electrical stimulation.

Biofeedback: This is technique used to check the contractions of the pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor therapists mostly use biofeedback to monitor the improvements in your exercise. It can be done by placing electrodes externally on the vaginal or anal region. Sometimes an internal probe to measure the tension and relaxation of your pelvic floor muscles.