Pregnancy significantly affects the overall daily functioning of women. Pregnancy is often a time filled with excitement and nervous anticipation. Most women think of names, plan nurseries and shop for the tiny dresses, toys and shoes to give a heartiest welcome to there tiny sweetheart . Few think of the vast physical changes that will soon take place. As the body structurally begins to accommodate the new life growing inside, the mother starts getting affected like never before.
The mother starts gaining weight and the shape of her body starts getting altered in order to provide a nurturing environment and nutrition to her child. Ligaments get relaxed to allow expansion of the pelvis. Thereby, the body prepares for delivery. It is always best to be aware of the very early signs of pregnancy and to take good care during this period.
The vital systems of the body namely, cardiac, pulmonary, renal and gastrointestinal start working overtime in order to house the new life. The mother’s posture, energy level and overall sense of well-being start getting affected. A woman’s body goes through immense physical and hormonal changes before and after delivery. For years, discomforts associated with pregnancy has been accepted as a normal part of the process. But today, people are being more health conscious and they have started understanding the need of taking special care and nutrition during the time of pregnancy. Physical Therapy helps relieve discomfort experienced during pregnancy and also, prepares the body for delivery.
A carefully designed exercise program benefits a pregnant women and her baby by keeping her fit and active during her pregnancy and helps in easing and hastening the process of labor and delivery. Not only prenatal, it is also effective in improving postnatal well-being. Marjory, it helps a women fight the risk of postnatal depression (PND).
Some of the problems that may occur during pregnancy are postural low back ache, pelvic pressure, bowel/bladder stress incontinence, leg pain and numbness, leg cramps and carpal tunnel syndrome. Post delivery, discomfort in the sacroiliac and abdominal region may continue in the form of sacroiliac (SI) pain, weakened abdominal muscles, pain from an episiotomy or c-section scar, urinary/fecal stress incontinence or pain during sexual intercourse.
Physical therapy helps recover and train the musculoskeletal system. It is of extreme importance for pregnant women to do light physical activities and continue with her daily household works. Exercise helps the abdominal muscles to minimize strain and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Perineal massage prepares the pelvic floor muscles for the mega –stretch that these muscles face when the baby’s head is exited out of the vaginal opening and improves the elasticity of these muscles. Kegel’s exercise helps in training the “Physiological Pull” phenomenon. A mother gets physical and emotional support to cope with childbirth by this physical training. After childbirth, the mother should undergo postpartum assessment to analyze the level of strength, elasticity and power of abdominal and pelvic muscle tissues after birth. This is very necessary in multiparous women as the more the children are delivered, the more weakened becomes the pelvic floor, no matter; the deliveries are vaginal or Caesarean. Physical therapy helps accelerates the normal muscular healing process.