Every woman knows that their body will change in a variety of different ways during pregnancy, but there is relatively little discussion of how these changes can impact postnatal recovery. While most new mums are well aware that their body won’t immediately snap back to their version of normal the moment they have given birth, many women find themselves surprised at how significant the changes can be, as well as how long-lasting they are.
Thankfully, there is a solution: postnatal physiotherapy, which we at Sycamore Health can offer to residents of Caboolture and the surrounding area. If you are expecting, or have recently given birth, then considering postnatal physiotherapy is incredibly important – and we’ve outlined five specific reasons why this is the case below.
#1 – Strengthen abdominal muscles
In order to accommodate a baby bump, the muscles of a woman’s abdomen have to expand during pregnancy – similar to how an elastic band can stretch to grip an object. After giving birth, the abdominal muscles do not necessarily immediately contract, which can lead to weakness and discomfort in the area.
Postnatal physiotherapy is therefore designed to encourage the stomach muscles to return to their pre-pregnancy state, primarily by building strength and improving flexibility – which in turn helps to reduce pain and, in many cases, improve self-confidence.
#2 – Prevent urinary incontinence
Studies have found that up to 50% of women experience some form of urinary incontinence after pregnancy, with severity levels ranging from mild and inconvenient, to extremely severe and problematic.
The reason new mums experience urinary incontinence is usually attributed to the natural stretching of the pelvic area during pregnancy and vaginal childbirth. As a result, postnatal physiotherapy seeks to tighten the stretched muscles of the pelvic floor, which studies have found to be incredibly effective at reducing incontinence issues and thus preventing the need for surgical intervention in future.
However, it is worth noting that many women who have given birth via C-section also experience urinary incontinence – albeit in smaller numbers than those who gave birth vaginally. As a result, all new mums can benefit from postnatal physiotherapy and the benefits of tightening and strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor.
#3 – Reduce pelvic pain
As we touched on above, pregnancy and childbirth can alter the muscles of the pelvic floor, which can result in problematic urinary incontinence. However, urinary incontinence is not the only issue that women can experience; many new mums report pelvic pain and discomfort after giving birth, which can significantly impact their quality of life.
As a result, postnatal physiotherapy focuses beyond incontinence when addressing pelvic floor issues after pregnancy. Physiotherapy can help to strengthen and retrain the muscles in the area, greatly reducing pain and allowing new mums to resume their normal activities as soon as possible.
#4 – Decrease back pain
Many pregnant women experience back pain due to their pregnancy. There are a number of reasons that this can happen, but the most common is simply the strain of bearing extra weight at the front of the body for close to 10 months. For some women, the back pain they have experienced during pregnancy resolves after giving birth, but this is far from universal – many women find that their back pain lingers, potentially to the point where it becomes a chronic issue.
Postnatal physiotherapy, therefore, seeks to strengthen the back muscles, increase flexibility, and even improve posture in order to successfully treat back pain and ensure it does not become a long-term issue.
#5 – Extra reassurance of professional advice
There are a number of exercises that women can do after giving birth that can assist with the issues above, with numerous YouTube videos and online guides available. However, these guides are not necessarily correct, nor are they tailored to each individual and their goals. As a result, attempting “home” exercises can fail to address the underlying issues, and potentially – in the worst case scenarios – actually worsen the physical issues that postpartum women experience.
By opting to visit a qualified, specialist postnatal physiotherapist, all of the concerns regarding “home” exercises are immediately rectified. Postnatal physiotherapists understand how a woman’s body changes through pregnancy, and have the expertise to alleviate each issue directly. In addition, postnatal physiotherapists can customise their recommendations for each specific individual, which helps to improve outcomes almost exponentially.
As the above points demonstrate, new mums in Caboolture can greatly benefit from postnatal physiotherapy provided by Sycamore Health. To find out more about the options we offer, please do not hesitate to contact us for more information at your next convenience.