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Benefits of Prenatal Pelvic Health Physiotherapy During Pregnancy

Updated: Jul 9

The topic that has gained tremendous prominence in the healthcare industry over several years is the recovery of pelvic floor muscles. Many people are doubtful about whether to go for a prenatal pelvic floor physiotherapy consultation before giving birth or not. Here, we have come up to clarify all your doubts. 


Experts advise prenatal physiotherapy because it is a phenomenal way to prepare your body and muscles for childbirth. So, get ready to train your pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy.


What is Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy?


Pelvic floor physiotherapy is a form of manual physiotherapy that focuses on the pelvic floor muscles and their rehabilitation. Pelvic floor muscles are between the tailbone and pubic bone within the pelvis and provide support to internal pelvic organs including bladder, rectum and uterus. A pelvic floor physiotherapist is the professional who is trained to assess, diagnose and treat several conditions related to pelvic health like prolapse, incontinence etc. 


Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy

How Does Pregnancy Affect the Pelvic Floor?


Pregnancy significantly impacts the pelvic floor, with added weight and hormonal changes increasing the risk of urinary incontinence and other disorders. Understanding these effects and the role of medical history is crucial for managing pelvic floor health during this time.


Physical Changes 


There is no denying the fact that nearly 50% of women experience pelvic floor disorders symptoms even before childbirth. Women gain weight. This is not just the baby’s weight but also the placenta’s weight, enlarged uterus, and increased blood volume. This extra weight puts pressure on the pelvic floor muscles, thereby posing an increased risk of urinary incontinence. 


It is common to experience constipation during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester. Hormonal changes and the weight of the growing uterus result in difficulty in passing stools. Furthermore, this weakens pelvic floor muscles. 


Hormonal Changes 


When it comes to hormonal changes, the placenta secretes the hormone named relaxin to increase the flexibility in ligaments and soften the cervix. These changes in the body of the pregnant woman prepare her for birth. Consequently, pelvis bones loosen, leading to increased flexibility and instability. 


Medical History 


The medical history of women is also one crucial factor that determines the risk of pelvic floor disorders. Women who have a medical history of connective tissue disorders, smoking, or chronic constipation are more prone to pain in pelvic floor muscles. Also, a history of obesity or repeated heavy lifting can pose an increased risk.


What Can a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Assess and Treat During Pregnancy?


The process of prenatal pelvic floor physiotherapy demands the assistance of a professional prenatal physiotherapist to address pelvic pain issues and prepare your body for the smooth delivery of the baby. A pelvic floor physio addresses the following issues – 


  • Incontinence.

  • Exercise to make the delivery process easy. 

  • Exercises for posy-partum recovery, known as postpartum physiotherapy. 

  • Pain related to intercourse.

  • Prolapse. 

  • Planned or unplanned cesarean birth. 

  • Lower back pain or hip pain. 


Back Pain During pregnancy

Benefits of Seeing a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist During Pregnancy


The benefits of consulting a professional pelvic floor physiotherapist are immense. Let’s know them in detail. 


Improved Confidence 


A woman is prepared for the marathon (childbirth) when she is pregnant. Pregnancy physiotherapy lets her know the best positions that can help her during labor and delivery and perineal stretching so that she can reduce the chances of an episiotomy (Incision between vaginal opening and anus).

Besides, she also comes to know about the pushing methods to make the baby easily come out and ultimately improve the delivery experience. 


Stabilization Exercises to Avoid Discomfort During Pregnancy


Pregnancy increases laxity in your joints and ligaments, which results in pain. You can do simple stabilization exercises to keep these discomforts at bay. Many people are of the notion that gentle stretching and prenatal yoga are enough in pregnancy. But the reality is different. Women need more core stabilization, lower back, and hip strengthening to support their changing body structure effectively.

 

Some general exercises recommended for women during pregnancy are squats, banded walks, deadlifts, and side planks, to name a few. Also, exercises like lunging, deadlifts, and squatting protect your pack during post-pregnancy and come under post-pregnancy physiotherapy exercises. However, you should always consult a specialist in prenatal physiotherapy to know the suitable forms of exercise and your limitations. 


Understanding Breath Connection 


It is a harsh reality that most of us don’t breathe well. We mostly breathe solely into our chest and upper cavities, especially in stressed or painful situations. Your ribs accommodate by flaring outwards to create more space with the growth of the baby. Most pregnant women breathe from their neck and upper thoracic cavity due to less room for the diaphragm to descend. 

A maternity physiotherapist helps you with the process of tapping into your diaphragmatic breathing for better relaxation and more oxygen intake and prepares your body in a better way for labor. Having professional prenatal pelvic floor physiotherapy by your side helps increase your confidence in your breath and movement patterns before the birth of the baby. 


Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy Exercise

Pelvic Floor Coordination 


Prenatal pelvic floor physiotherapy starts with the assessment of pelvic floor coordination. Your muscles should be able to contract, relax, and bear down efficiently. This is necessary if you want to have a smooth delivery process.

Often, women have less body awareness and think that their pelvic floor is lengthening, but the reality is just the opposite. The pelvic floor muscles are contracting. This case increases the risk of vaginal tearing during the pushing phase of the labor. A pregnancy physiotherapist can help you attain pelvic floor coordination.


Easier Postpartum Recovery

 

Your body changes a lot in the postpartum phase. Being successful in maintaining a connection deep core and pelvic floor muscles before delivery simplifies the process of retraining these muscles during postpartum. Postpartum physiotherapy exercises allow you to feel confident and make you know the exercises to do to strengthen your core. 


Improved Birth Outcome 


Many studies say that prenatal pelvic floor physiotherapy training reduces the chances drastically of perineal trauma, especially when it is your first delivery. Hence, you will get an improved birth outcome. 


To Make a Long Story Short


Pelvic floor physiotherapy during pregnancy is an invaluable resource for expectant mothers, offering tailored care that addresses the unique challenges of this transformative period. From strengthening the pelvic floor muscles to managing pain and preparing for childbirth, the benefits of seeing a pelvic floor physiotherapist are extensive. By focusing on pelvic health, pregnant women can enhance their comfort, support their bodies through the demands of pregnancy, and pave the way for a smoother postpartum recovery. As we celebrate the miracle of pregnancy, let us also prioritize the health and well-being of the mothers who bring new life into the world.


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