Prenatal physical therapy is a type of physical therapy that focuses on the needs of pregnant women. It revolves around prenatal exercises designed to help pregnant women maintain their strength and flexibility during pregnancy. These exercises are typically done by the patient at home and in the office with a therapist.
If you’re wondering about the benefits of prenatal physical therapy, keep reading. We’ll discuss five key benefits you may see if you see a physical therapist in the nine months before you give birth.
1. Pain relief
Many women attend prenatal physical therapy in an attempt to find pain relief. After all, pregnancy tends to come with a lot of physical pain (the APA says that 70% of pregnant women experience back pain alone!). Physical therapy offers a remedy to this pain by helping patients to strengthen their back muscles and adjust their posture, which can lead to a decrease in pain symptoms.
2. Pelvic floor strengthening
Pregnancy can place significant pressure on a woman’s bladder, leading to urinary incontinence during and after pregnancy. In prenatal physical therapy, you’ll work on strengthening your pelvic floor; the muscles that help you control your bladder. Over time, this can help you to avoid incontinence.
3. Movement coaching
When you’re pregnant, even simple movements like getting out of bed or picking up your toddler can prove difficult. Even worse, they can lead to pulled muscles if you don’t stretch or you move the wrong way. Luckily, prenatal physical therapy can help in this regard; your specialist will teach you how to move in such a way that you reduce pain and the risk of injury.
4. Carpal tunnel reduction
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a surprising side effect of many pregnancies, with as many as 62% of pregnant women experiencing it. Through wrist exercises and manual therapy (in which the therapist uses their bare hands to mobilize the patient's joints and soft tissue), physical therapy can help patients to manage the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
5. Reducing stress on the joints
Women often experience achiness in their knees, hips and other joints during pregnancy, due to the added weight they are carrying. Physical therapy can help you strengthen the muscles around your joints so they are able to provide better support for your bones. This results in less pressure on the joints and decreased pain symptoms.
6. Smoother delivery
Giving birth is a very jarring process for the body, but physical therapy can help you prepare your body for the process. Your physical therapist can teach you stretches and exercises that help you increase flexibility in your hips, abs and back, which can be useful during the labor process.
7. Faster post-pregnancy recovery
Strengthening your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles can also help you recover faster after you give birth, as your muscles will be tighter and therefore contract faster. Many doctors recommend postpartum physical therapy to help with recovery, so it makes sense to get started ahead of time.
8. Prevention of diastasis recti abdominis
DRA occurs when the abdominal muscles separate, allowing the fatty tissue behind to bulge through. It is caused by the added pressure placed on the abdomen by your expanding uterus. This condition can cause pelvic pain and lower back pain, as the abdominal muscles no longer support the upper body. However, physical therapy can help you to keep those muscles strong and prevent tearing.
Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch prenatal physical therapy
At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need. Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner in your area that can help you prepare for childbirth and manage pregnancy pain symptoms.
Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform.
Come find the physical therapist who can help you get exceptional prenatal PT.