Experienced physios working with women before and after childbirth can greatly help their clients to reduce pain and discomfort. There are musculoskeletal changes, which occur during pregnancy and after childbirth, and the physiotherapist can assist through initiating a program of antenatal and postnatal exercises. Physio can help new mothers, and mothers to be, get some control over their bodies through exercise and treatment. Deep massage, core strengthening muscle exercises, postural stretches, muscle balancing techniques, retraining, positioning, patterning, and even external supports, can all be helpful in healing and managing pain.
Antenatally, some of the issues can be: low and mid back pain; bladder control problems or constipation or straining; rectus diastasis (abdominal bulging); carpal tunnel symptoms; Sacro-Iliac Joint pain; Pubic Symphysis pain; and Piriformis muscle spasm. Postnatally, problems can include: back, neck and shoulder pain; Sacro-Iliac Joint pain; Pubic Symphysis pain; Piriformis pain; Perineal pain; post caesarean pain; bowel control problems; bladder control difficulties, constipation or straining; menstrual problems; and rectus diastasis.
Physiotherapy for Women: Antenatal & Postnatal Support
Physios can help immediately after the mother has given birth by educating clients about how to best move in bed, get in and out of bed, how to get up and down from a chair, and breastfeeding positioning in bed and in a chair. Knowledge in this regard will reduce pain and further muscular damage for new mothers, as they go about their necessary tasks post birth of their child.
Prior to birth, during the growing pregnancy, a mother to be will need to understand that her body is changing. Physio can teach clients about what to expect from this changing body and how best to manoeuvre it, so as not to damage the musculature or joints. A heavily pregnant woman has greatly reduced mobility in terms of bending and stretching. Knowing that a woman in this condition cannot do the same things that she did prior to this state is important for the client to understand.
Physiotherapy is about movement; and designing programs to support limited and new ways of movement in response to antenatal or postnatal conditions are some of the vital things that physios can achieve for their clients in these situations. Physios can be contacted privately through clinics or health centres, and/or you may be able to engage the support of a physio through your local hospital or outpatient’s centre.