The changes that a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy are profound – particularly in regards to physical changes.
From the outside, many people will only observe changes in the abdomen, as it will visibly grow larger and protrude further in order to accommodate the baby growing inside. But other changes occur (both as a result of this change and alongside this notable change) too. More pressure is placed on the internal organs. The mother’s centre of mass changes. There’s a lot more weight to be carried. It’s not all too surprising that most pregnant women will experience side effects. These can include, but aren’t limited to, pelvic pain, back pain, joint pain, urinary incontinence, and more.
The good news is that pregnant women don’t necessarily need to just accept any of this. There are various things that people can do to relieve pressure and pain. Perhaps one of the best proven options out there tends to be physiotherapy.
What Is Prenatal Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy can be used to treat a variety of issues. At the end of the day, wherever there’s pain, there’s a cause and physiotherapy can help to identify the cause and takes steps to improve any issues at home. Often, the inflammation and pain experienced during pregnancy are a result of increased movement in the pelvic joints. Prenatal physiotherapy helps to reduce the pain and inconveniences that you experience as a direct result of being pregnant. This can significantly improve your overall quality of life during your pregnancy and improve your post-pregnancy period. Many people worry that they can’t undergo physio while they’re pregnant, but this isn’t true. Not only can you engage with it, but it has proven results!
How Does It Help?
Prenatal physiotherapy can help in various ways. Its most renowned benefits include:
- Increasing muscle tone and strengthening your body – this allows your body to bounce back to its usual state.
- Improve recovery times – individuals engaging with physiotherapy tend to have shorter recovery times. This will come in particularly useful post-birth, allowing you to take care of your baby with less physical pain, strain, or exhaustion.
- Reduce bladder weakness – physiotherapy can improve any experiences of bladder weakness that you might have. This can reduce the number of accidents you have and reduces the number of times you have to go to the bathroom each day.
What to Look for in a Physiotherapist
Finding the right prenatal physiotherapist isn’t necessarily as simple as settling for the first person who presents themselves to you. You should be aware of exactly what you’re looking for in a physiotherapist and ensure that the person you settle with ticks all of your boxes. Here are a few things you should look for in a prenatal physiotherapist!
Qualifications are an essential in a physiotherapist. It shows that the person has received the necessary education to truly understand you, your body, and your needs. A Bphty or Mphty is essential – this is a bachelors or masters degree in physiotherapy. An Bsk or Msk degree is also desirable – this is essentially a bachelors or masters of skeletal science.
Beyond qualifications, you want to look for experience. It’s all good and well passing a degree, but experience allows physiotherapists to get to know their role and build their communication and care skills. The more experience, the better. Always feel free to ask your physiotherapist about their experience in their field of specialism.
Willingness to Carry Out Screening
If you intend to engage with prenatal physiotherapy, you should embark on a programme that entails screening. This will help the physiotherapist to assess existing symptoms, which will in turn allow them provide the right form of physio treatment. The physiotherapist should then be able to offer aftercare advice, educating you on how to carry out effective and safe exercises that will see you experience benefits moving forward too. Screening should include:
- An assessment of posture, strength, flexibility and balance
- Checks for potential musculoskeletal issues
- A discussion regarding beneficial exercises
As you can see, prenatal pregnancy physiotherapy comes hand in hand with a whole host of benefits. If it’s something that you’re interested in pursuing, however, it’s absolutely essential that you engage with professionals who will be able to provide you with the care and service that you not only deserve, but that you need for the physio to work for you.
Hopefully, the above information will help to open your eyes to the benefits of prenatal pregnancy physiotherapy and will also help to guide you on the right path to finding the best physiotherapists out there!