Women’s body undergoes multiple changes during pregnancy like an increase in weight and change in the centre of mass which creates more pressure on the body organs. These changes often lead to a range of pelvic, orthopedic and neurological syndromes during prenatal and post natal stages. Most common conditions are incontinence, pelvic pain, bladder prolapse, abdominal separation etc.
In fact, over two-thirds of pregnant women experience back pain, one-fifth experience pelvic pain and over 40% experience urinary incontinence in their first pregnancy – with half remaining incontinent at 8 weeks post-partum, and one-third experiencing a new onset of incontinence after childbirth.
Role of physiotherapy in treating pre & post natal complications
There are exercises and training programs that are designed and delivered by physiotherapists and can effectively relieve lower back pain, pelvic pain and urinary incontinence in pregnant women.
The physiotherapist will properly assess, treat and guide pregnant women towards effective and safe exercises that minimize lower back pain, pelvic pain, and urinary incontinence – during their pregnancy and post-partum.
Generally, the following steps are undertaken in the physiotherapist delivered program for pregnant women to treat pre and post natal health complications:
- Assess the condition of patients to ascertain that they can safely participate in an exercise program;
- Assess patients for body posture, physical strength, flexibility & sense of balance as well as any musculoskeletal issues that may have any impact on pregnancy;
- Guide the patients to perform exercises effectively keeping their safety on the first priority.
- Follow customized exercise pattern for each individual – even in a group setting;
- Facilitate group discussion regarding pre and post natal issues to encourage sharing of best practices and home remedies.
The main aim of all such physiotherapy programs for women is to ensure improved prenatal fitness to facilitate healthier and easier pregnancy and delivery. These physiotherapy programs can also be combined with primary health care provider wherein the detailed assessment findings can be shared with the participant’s primary and pregnancy health care providers. In addition to this; individual sessions can be arranged for women who are experiencing a high-risk pregnancy in order to follow strict observation of the health care provider’s restrictions with a focus on maintaining the pelvic floor and alleviating pain.