Congratulations on your pregnancy! Your precious, unique baby is already taking shape inside you, growing exponentially in the early days then steadily bigger (and livelier!) as the months progress.
Maybe you’ve had a fairly easy pregnancy or maybe you’ve had every possible symptom and a few more to boot. Maybe you’re overjoyed, maybe you’re a bit anxious, maybe you’re feeling ten different things at once thanks to those fluctuating hormones!
Whatever your experience of pregnancy has been like so far, we’re excited for you. Our pregnancy physiotherapists are here to help you have a comfortable pregnancy and be well prepared for giving birth.
How Your Body Changes In Pregnancy
Your body changes in so many ways during pregnancy. Besides the obvious signs of pregnancy, it also changes your musculoskeletal system, the interconnected system of bones, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments that gives your body both stability and flexibility. Some of the changes are due to your changed shape — because you’re pregnant, you’ve gained weight and your centre of gravity has shifted. Other changes are due to a certain hormone called relaxin.
The Role of Relaxin
Relaxin is a hormone made in your ovaries. Your levels rise when you ovulate and drop when your period starts.
If you’re pregnant, your relaxin levels continue to rise. They’re highest in the first trimester when they help the fertilised egg implant into your uterus and help the placenta to grow.
As its name suggests, relaxin helps parts of your body relax. It relaxes your arteries so that they can pump an increased volume of blood around without a massive increase in your blood pressure. It helps your renal system remain chilled about its higher workload now that you’re carrying a passenger. And during birth, it softens your cervix to help it dilate and relaxes your pelvic ligaments to ease delivery.
Relaxin has wonderful benefits but some awkward side effects too. It can make your ligaments looser, causing various aches and pains that can sometimes take the shine off your pregnancy. We can help you there.
Why See a Pregnancy Physiotherapist?
We encourage pregnant women to see an antenatal physiotherapist to:
- Enjoy a more comfortable pregnancy
- Strengthen your pelvic floor
- Prepare for birth
- Aid a good recovery from birth.
Benefits of Antenatal Physiotherapy
A skilled pregnancy physiotherapist can help you handle common pregnancy pains such as pelvic pain and back pain.
The combined effects of relaxin and your increasing baby bump put quite a bit of strain on your pelvis and lower back. You may find your sacroiliac joint (SIJ) feels unstable, causing pain in your pelvis, back and hips. Or you might develop symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), causing pain in your lower back, pelvis and perineum and making movement painful. Pregnancy-related back pain is very common because your posture has changed, your belly has grown and you’re probably sleeping in a different position too.
Our physios can help treat these pregnancy pains. We can examine you and determine the cause of your pain then help you relieve it with techniques appropriate to your stage of pregnancy.
We might use:
- Manual therapy
- Exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor, back and hips
- Relaxation techniques to help you through pregnancy, birth and early motherhood
- Pain relief such as TENS
- Supportive aids such as a pelvic support belt.
As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure. So, we encourage all mums-to-be to use antenatal physiotherapy. We can help you exercise safely during pregnancy so that you maintain good health and fitness and feel at home in your changing body. That can help you handle the changes of pregnancy and improve your mood and confidence.
You might find that your physiotherapy sessions are the highlight of your week, as you take time to focus on your amazing body aided by a skilled and caring practitioner.
Is Physiotherapy Safe in Pregnancy?
Yes, when it’s performed by a qualified physiotherapist who knows how to tailor exercises to pregnant women. There are some movements that you can no longer do safely as your pregnancy progresses so we avoid those and focus on techniques that will help you have a comfortable pregnancy, a strong pelvic floor and prepare you for giving birth.
Let Us Help You
Our physiotherapists would love to help you through the amazing physical and emotional changes of pregnancy, birth and early motherhood. Please make an appointment today.