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Why should I see a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist during pregnancy?
Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy during Pregnancy

7 Reasons to seek out a pelvic floor physical therapist during pregnancy

Pregnancy is a transformative and challenging time for many women. Seeking out a pelvic floor physical therapist during pregnancy provides numerous benefits that can help women manage the physical changes and discomfort associated with pregnancy. In this article, Susannah Azofeifa, PT, DPT shares seven reasons why seeking out a pelvic floor physical therapist during pregnancy can be beneficial.

 

1. Continue exercising safely under the guidance of a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist During Pregnancy

A physical therapist can advise you on movements that are safe to continue as well as movements that should be avoided. 

Can also discuss appropriate heart rate ranges during pregnancy. 

 

2. To strengthen the pelvic floor muscles

A physical therapist can talk to you about exercises and different breathing techniques to improve strength of pelvic floor muscles. This also helps decrease symptoms affective incontinence & urgency

 

3. To learn different strategies to relax and lengthen the pelvic floor muscles

This plays an important role in delivering a baby vaginally 

There are many different stretches and breathing techniques that can be taught to help improve pelvic floor range of motion

Pelvic floor lengthening is important in delivering a baby, the muscles need to relax for childbirth to take place! 

 

4. To learn modifications to daily activities that may become painful throughout pregnancy 

If low back pain, hip pain, or pelvic pain becomes a problem during pregnancy, a physical therapist can help to modify movements to make them more tolerable. 

The physical therapist can analyze an individual’s ability to transfer forces from one side to another, look at range of motion, and functional strength. 

 

5. To learn appropriate breathing techniques 

The diaphragm is closely connected to the pelvic floor and plays a very important role in the mobility of the pelvic floor.

It is important to learn appropriate breathing techniques throughout pregnancy to aid in contraction and relaxation of the pelvic floor.

Breathing can also be incorporated during labor aid in vaginal delivery.  

 

6. To address any musculoskeletal complaints

Pelvic floor PT addresses issues related to low back, hip, core, and/or pelvic pain. 

Pregnancy can often come along with aches and pains throughout the neck, mid back, lower back, hips and pelvis. 

A physical therapist can address limitations by assessing posture, functional range of motion, and functional strength – to name a few.

Based on assessment, appropriate interventions will be implemented to address pain. 

 

7. Postural awareness/retraining 

During pregnancy, a woman’s center of mass moves with the growth of a child. Physical therapists can help by addressing things such as strength and posture as the center of mass changes. 

 

Summary: Reasons to Seek Out a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist During Pregnancy

Pelvic floor physical therapy can provide many benefits for pregnant women. These benefits include learning safe exercises to continue throughout pregnancy, strengthening and lengthening pelvic floor muscles, modifying daily activities to alleviate pain, learning appropriate breathing techniques, addressing musculoskeletal complaints, and improving postural awareness and retraining. Seeking out a pelvic floor physical therapist during pregnancy can help women prepare for childbirth, manage pain, and improve overall physical function. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before beginning any exercise program during pregnancy.

If you live in the Augusta area, and want to receive the guidance of a pelvic floor physical therapist during your pregnancy (or following pregnancy), request an appointment with us now!

 

Susannah Azofeifa, PT, DPT was born and raised in Owensboro, Kentucky but now calls North Augusta, SC home. She attended the University of Louisville and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology/Exercise Science in 2017. She then attended Breanu University where she received her doctorate of physical therapy in 2021. Susannah enjoys treating a wide range of orthopedic conditions and also specializes in treating pelvic floor dysfunction, and pre and post partum individuals. She enjoys spending time doing activities such as CrossFit, being outdoors, traveling, being with family, and spending time with her husband, Fabian. She heads up our Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy (PFPT) program here at ProActive.

 

References

  • ACOG. (2015). Physical activity and exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Committee Opinion No. 650. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 126(6), e135-e142. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000001214
  • Davenport, M. H., et al. (2019). Exercise for the prevention and treatment of low back, pelvic girdle and lumbopelvic pain during pregnancy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 53(2), 90-98. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2017-098983
  • Hay-Smith, J., et al. (2018). Pelvic floor muscle training for prevention and treatment of urinary and faecal incontinence in antenatal and postnatal women. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (10), CD007471. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD007471.pub4
  • Morkved, S., et al. (2014). Pelvic floor muscle training during pregnancy to prevent urinary incontinence: A single-blind randomized controlled trial. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 123(1), 91-97. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000000057
  • Dumoulin, C., et al. (2018). Pelvic floor muscle training versus no treatment, or inactive control treatments, for urinary incontinence in women. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (10), CD005654. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005654.pub4
  • Valiani, M., et al. (2015). The effect of pelvic floor muscle exercises on urinary incontinence in pregnant women: A randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Preventive Medicine, 6, 114. doi:10.4103/2008-7802.170405
  • Pascoal, A. G., et al. (2017). Influence of different sitting positions on cervical range of motion, shoulder joint flexion, and trunk inclination in healthy women. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 40(5), 337-344. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2017.03.006
  • Pennick, V., & Liddle, S. D. (2013). Interventions for preventing and treating pelvic and back pain in pregnancy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (8), CD001139. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001139.pub4
  • Levett, K. M., et al. (2016). The effect of exercise on pelvic floor outcomes in pregnant women: A systematic review. Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey, 71(7), 421-431. doi:10.1097/OGX.0000000000000325
  • Stafne, S. N., et al. (2012). Breathing technique training versus no breathing technique training for prevention of perinatal anxiety and depression: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 18(11), 1024-1030. doi:10.1089/acm.2011.0617

Are you dealing with pain?

We understand that struggling with the stress and strain of pain can be tough…Whether it’s waking up feeling stiff or severe tension after walking, running, or playing, no one wants to spend each day dealing with the soreness that pain brings. While many people choose surgery or injections for pain relief, at ProActive Rehabilitation & Wellness, we offer non-surgical therapies which prevents patients from going under the knife.

 

If you’d like to book a pain consultation now, with one of our top clinicians, click the button bellow or have your provider fax over a referral. We only book a limited amount of these consultations each month, so act quickly before they’re gone.

Rafi Salazar OT

Rafael E. Salazar II, MHS, OTR/L (Rafi) is the CEO & President of Proactive Rehabilitation & Wellness, as well as the Principal Owner of Rehab U Practice Solutions and the host of The Better Outcomes Show. He has experience in a variety of rehab settings, working with patients recovering from a variety of injuries and surgeries. He worked as the lead clinician in an outpatient specialty clinic at his local VA Medical center, where he worked on projects to improve patient & employee engagement and experience throughout the organization. He has experience as a faculty member at Augusta University’s Occupational Therapy Program, as a Licensed Board Member on the GA State OT Board, has served on several committees for the national OT Board (NBCOT), and as a consultant working for the State of Georgia’s DBHDD. He is also on the Board of Directors for NBCOT. Rafi also authored the book Better Outcomes: A Guide to Humanizing Healthcare