Your body undergoes many changes during pregnancy and continues to change post-natally. It is important to address any issues that occur at this time so as to prevent problems later in life.
Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) is a common complaint during or after pregnancy affecting up to one in four pregnant women. Symptoms of PGP include pain at the front and/or the back of the pelvis. Pain is most commonly felt whilst walking, climbing stairs and turning over in bed. The pain can affect many daily activities, impacting greatly on your lifestyle. PGP can occur at any stage of your pregnancy, coming on gradually or suddenly.
PGP is caused by asymmetry of the pelvic joints. Usually in PGP the pelvic joints, which should work together in a ring system, are not working normally. Often one joint becomes stiff causing strain and irritation in the other joints or there is muscle imbalance across the pelvis from muscle weakness or tightness. Traditionally, it was thought that all PGP was caused by increasing hormone levels and changing posture during the pregnancy. Women, historically have been told to accept pain as part of a normal pregnancy. However, this should not be the case. The asymmetry that is causing the PGP is a bio-mechanical problem therefore it can be treated with manual therapy, stretches, muscle strengthening and postural correction. Prompt treatment can prevent the condition from worsening and leads to a shorter overall recovery time. PGP can be treated during your pregnancy to reduce your pain and improve your function and mobility.
Urinary incontinence in pregnancy should not be ignored as research suggests that if you develop stress urinary incontinence during your pregnancy you are more likely to suffer from incontinence years later. The mounting pressure of the uterus on your bladder gives you less room to store urine at a time when your pelvic floor muscle may be being stretched by the weight of your baby. Childbirth can also lead to pelvic floor trauma. You may notice that you leak urine when you sneeze or find it harder to hold your urine when you need to ‘go’. An assessment with a Women’s Health Physiotherapist is often all you need to prevent this, making sure that you are doing the right pelvic floor exercises. Activating the correct muscles for a suitable length of time is important in maintaining a strong pelvic floor throughout your pregnancy and beyond.
Pilates based exercises are invaluable throughout pregnancy to strengthen the supporting muscles of the pelvis, ease the pressure on the pelvic floor and improve your general strength ready for delivery and beyond.
If you are pregnant and suffering with any of these symptoms contact us for an assessment