For first time mums, there’s also the huge question of “what do I actually do when the baby arrives?” Nobody writes a manual for these things (although there are a million and one books and blogs, which often cause even more confusion).
With all of this going on, as well as the usual life stresses, it makes sense to take measures that help you ‘avoid the avoidables’ in pregnancy. Nobody can guarantee a trouble-free pregnancy but there’s steps you can take to give yourself the best possible chance of avoiding the common pitfalls.
That’s where a physiotherapist comes in.
There are two strong reasons to see a physiotherapist during your pregnancy:
- To help keep, or get, your body into the best possible condition to cope with the physical demands of pregnancy
- To recover quickly after birth and make your transition back into ‘normal’ postnatal activities more successful
The comprehensive, systematic and unique approach we use at Barefoot Physiotherapy will help you achieve both of these goals and provide lasting results.
- Neck pain – the weight distribution during pregnancy is skewed towards the front of your body, so strain on the neck is common and can easily lead to pain.
- Back pain – postural changes, changed sleep positions and a growing belly can all lead to back pain.
- Sacroiliac joint pain – SIJ pain is one of the most common complaints during pregnancy. The relaxing and loosening effect of Relaxin can cause the usually stiff SI joint to move more than usual. This in turn can cause pregnant women to favour one side of their body over the other which can lead to inflammation and pain in other areas in the body.
- Shoulder pain – this is not as common in pregnancy but can be related to postural changes and weight distribution.
- Hip pain – usually caused by the loosening of the ligaments holding together the sacroiliac joints, which connect your spine to your pelvis.
- Knee pain – carrying around that growing baby bump, along with any changes in gait (the way you walk) can put extra pressure through the knees.
- Ankle pain – similar to the causes of knee pain but also add in swelling in the joint and you’ve got the usual triggers for ankle pain during pregnancy.
- Postnatal pain – posture is a common source of pain after the baby is born, as Mums always put the comfort of the baby ahead of their own. The posture taken to breastfeed, soothe and bond with a baby for prolonged periods puts massive amounts of strain on the body (the hours and hours of doing this really add up) and can see many sources of pain flare up.
Pregnant women are also advised to sleep on their left side to increase blood flow to the uterus, but this too can cause strain and discomfort.
The extra work that muscles do to compensate for the physical changes induced by pregnancy can lead to overuse injuries, while the resulting inflammation can cause nerve irritation which in turn serves up a long list of symptoms (all of which we can fix, of course!).
Pregnancy is also known to aggravate any existing musculoskeletal conditions you may have. Remember that old knee injury you never quite finished your rehab on? Expect it to come knocking!
What is the best time for pregnant women to see a physio?
As with everything, prevention is better than cure and from this perspective it’s better to be proactive than reactive when it comes to managing joint pain during pregnancy. That said however, it’s never too late and with the Barefoot approach you’ll be able to achieve results regardless – though the longer you wait, the more you have to catch up.
If you have, or have had, musculoskeletal conditions or injuries in the past that flare up every now and then, it’s definitely best to get on top of these before you fall pregnant with pre-natal physiotherapy.
Is it safe to have physiotherapy while pregnant?
There are some techniques that we modify or avoid when treating pregnant women, particularly in the last trimester when the belly has really popped, but all of our sessions are 100% safe for you and your baby.
In the six months after childbirth, your body is in a state where it needs extra care. It’s easy to injure yourself during this time if your joints are not well supported. Therefore, new mums can sometimes need specialist physiotherapy care for persistent problems following childbirth.
Plus, on top of that, you’ll no doubt be in a sleep-deprived state where all that tends to matter is the wellbeing of your baby. This is when you repeatedly get into certain postures that your body is not used to for extended periods… such as feeding them, shushing them, rocking them and of course staring lovingly at them.
You’ll soon realise that seven pounds of baby becomes surprisingly heavy after a few hours of rocking! And this often leads to mid-back and neck pain to flare up at these times. If you’re experiencing these problems, we can help you with:
- The correct carrying positions
- The correct breastfeeding positions that take pressure off your body
- Adjusting baby carriers to make sure they are good for you and bub
- Checking how the newborn process is affecting your body
- Getting your posture right when standing and sitting
- Breathing and relaxation
- Essential exercises to get you back into good shape ASAP
But on top of this, we are also a fantastic constant. Often mothers just need somebody to talk to who understands what they are going through, and ask for advice to get through it all.
And from a professional point of view, you can also be confident when we let you know your body is at a stage where it is ready to move more, and become more active.
We love nothing more than working with a Mum and bub pre, during and after a pregnancy. Come and see us to learn more about how we can help with your pregnancy. You can book online or call anytime.