When I talk with other healthcare professionals, pregnant women, or postpartum women, I often get asked this question: who should see a physiotherapist and when?
This is an exciting question because it means that people are thinking about their wellbeing before and after having children. While many women know that there are benefits to physiotherapy after childbirth, we are becoming more informed about antenatal care.
You know all those aches and pains that we associate with pregnancy? If you’ve had a child, you know that they’re not exclusive to the third trimester. You may have sciatica, hip pain, back pain, tension headaches, or other discomforts. Some people may dismiss these as a normal part of pregnancy, but those who have gone to physiotherapy know that this just isn’t true! It is possible to be pregnant and comfortable! Just let that sink is for a little bit…
Another issue that comes up during pregnancy is urinary incontinence. You can thank that little bean for sitting on your bladder, pushing up on your diaphragm, and shoving your bowels out of the way. It’s far easier to see a physiotherapist during pregnancy and deal with these issues than it is with a newborn in tow.
Ask any pregnant woman for the top three things that concern her about childbirth, and you’re likely to get these responses:
Well, physiotherapy can help with two of these! (Pooping is inevitable.) All experiences of labour and delivery are different, but there are strategies and techniques that can help make the most of the cards you get dealt. We can help you to prepare for childbirth and develop strategies to minimize pain and tearing.
If you’ve had a c-section due to failure to progress or unbearable pain, it’s a good idea to see a pelvic floor physiotherapist prior to attempting a VBAC. You may have overactive (tight) pelvic floor muscles!
If you follow this blog, you likely know all about the benefits of pelvic floor physiotherapy after having a baby. Everything changes during pregnancy and childbirth, whether you delivered vaginally or by c-section.
Other common conditions that I see in the postpartum period include:
These conditions are often associated with new moms because of the repetitive movements that we do. Think of how your wrist is positioned during breastfeeding, for example.
If your physiotherapist is trained in lactation consulting, you can get help with a range of breastfeeding related issues. These include positioning/ergonomics and torticollis. Breastfeeding is a very mechanical process and it is driven by 19 different neonatal reflexes! By facilitating all of these reflexes and addressing your individual needs, a skilled physiotherapist can help you to overcome your breastfeeding difficulties.
Lastly, physiotherapy is known to be very effective in the treatment of mastitis and plugged ducts. It’s a non-pharmaceutical option that can treat your current symptoms as well as prevent recurrence. Because nobody wants mastitis twice.
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