Pregnancy – Physiotherapist’s Advice


While pregnancy is a very exciting and happy time it can also come with its’ challenges.  Some common problems which women face during pregnancy are as follows:

The reason why these issues can occur is because there are many changes which happen in the body in preparation for childbirth; these changes can affect the musculoskeletal system during pregnancy and also for approximately six months after giving birth. One common reason for the abovementioned concerns is the release of the hormone relaxin. While its’ role is to make the pelvic ligaments more lax in preparation for child birth in the process it makes all the ligaments more lax. This can consequently predispose pregnant women to more injuries. Other changes include an altered centre of gravity and of course the added weight of the fetus.

So what can be done to reduce the likelihood of these problems occurring and to manage them if you are already experiencing some of them? Physiotherapy can certainly help but make sure that you see a physiotherapist who is trained in women’s health and often deals with pregnant women. While there are many treatment options available it is important to note that not all of them are safe in pregnancy. For instance electrotherapy can be very effective for reducing pain; however it is contraindicated during pregnancy. There are also some points which should be avoided during massage as it can increase the risk of miscarriage in the early stages and the risk of premature delivery at later stages of the pregnancy. When done properly, however, pregnancy massage can be very effective in reducing pain. Taping is another highly effective treatment modality which can help to reduce back, neck, and pelvic pain.

One treatment option which deserves even more attention is exercise. While the treatment methods mentioned above can be very beneficial when it comes to reducing pain effects are generally short lived. The main goal, when utilising those treatments, is to reduce the patient’s pain to the level at which they will be able to commence active treatment, which is exercise. A physiotherapist who is trained in women’s health will be able to provide you with a set of exercises which will be appropriate to the stage of pregnancy which you are in. Please note that prior to starting any new activity it is important to get clearance from your obstetrician/GP.

Before commencing any treatment, whether passive or active, your physiotherapist will take you through a thorough assessment. This will help to determine which treatment modality will be most effective for your particular problem. The physiotherapist will then work together with you to help you achieve your goals, whether that be reducing pain or just staying more active and fit during your pregnancy.

One way to stay healthy and continue exercising during pregnancy is to do Clinical Pilates. This is generally a very safe type of exercise, however make sure you only do Clinical Pilates with a physiotherapist who specialises in Pilates for pregnancy. Clinical Pilates can also assist in achieving easier labor and help you to regain your pre-pregnancy body faster after you give birth. The main objectives of Clinical Pilates are to help improve your posture and core, which is very important both during and after pregnancy. It will also help you tone up, improve your general muscle strength and flexibility. Use of Real Time Ultrasound will help in making sure that you activate your core muscles correctly as you will see on the screen how they work. Please not, however, that it should only be used after you have given birth, not during pregnancy.

See also our blog Pregnancy - Fitness and General Wellbeing