Pregnancy and new motherhood should be times of joy and promise – not pain. Fortunately, times have changed, you don’t have to live with pain or other problems related to pregnancy or delivery. That’s because physical therapy has changed too. It is no longer solely for joint problems; it’s also a safe, proven and widely prescribed treatment for pregnant women and new mothers.
Physical Therapy can help you manage your low back pain in pregnancy safely!
Many women experience low back pain during pregnancy. This is due to several factors such as:
- Hormonal Changes – this causes increased looseness of the pelvic ligaments to prepare your body for birthing your baby.
- Increased Weight Gain – This places increased stress on all the joints of the body. Increased breast weight can overload the neck and upper back.
- Postural Changes – Body weight shifts forward as the baby grows and this increases the arch in the lower back. Stomach muscles and the lower pelvic muscles become weaker which decreases support for the lower back.
- Altered Movement Patterns – Due to your changing body, women often begin to move in different patterns that can increase stress to the low back or pelvic joints.
A physical therapy evaluation will include an assessment of:
- Pelvic/Sacro-iliac joints
- Abdominal Musculature
- Spinal Alignment
- Body Mechanics
Treatment objectives are to:
- Reduce Pain
- Promote improved posture
- Education re: safe movement patterns
- Teach proper exercises for strengthening and flexibility and guidance toward cardiovascular fitness
The physical therapist may also plan a specialized exercise program for a pregnant or postpartum patient.
The goals and benefits of exercise for pregnant women include:
- Promotes good posture
- Increases or maintains aerobic fitness
- Improves muscle tone
- Improves sleep
- Prevents low back pain
- Reduces the risk of gestational diabetes
- Improved physiological and psychological health
- Prepares mom for labor and delivery
The goals of an exercise program for new moms (postpartum patients) are.
- Faster recovery from labor and delivery
- Increased endurance for taking care of self and baby
If you are experiencing low back pain in pregnancy please check out our Find A PT Page to find a women’s health specialist in your area.