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Pelvic Health Physiotherapy for Pregnancy

Guest Post written by Sami Cattach, B.Phty, Pelvic Health Physiotherapist in Calgary

Pelvic health physiotherapy for pregnancy! 

Pregnancy is such a unique time of life, particularly for the physical changes that occur within the body to grow and birth a baby. Pelvic health physiotherapy can play a key role in supporting you as you experience these changes! Our focus is on keeping you moving well through your pregnancy, protecting the pelvic floor and tummy muscles, preparing for birth and helping with your postpartum recovery. We want you to get back to feeling strong and doing what you love in this next stage of your life as a new mom! 

Here are some of the key areas where Pelvic Health Physiotherapy can support you through your journey:

1. Pelvic Floor Muscles

How well do you know your pelvic floor? You may know that these muscles play a key role in bladder control, but they also help with bowel control, support the pelvic organs, aid in pelvic and spinal stability AND they can impact your ability to birth your baby. Not all pregnant mamas need to strengthen their pelvic floor leading up to birth, but knowing how to engage and especially RELAX these muscles can help to aid in baby’s delivery, as well as decrease your risk of injury to these muscles. 

Pelvic physios are able to help you connect with your pelvic floor via education and internal vaginal assessment (safe after 20 weeks of pregnancy as long as you are comfortable with it), and prepare you with breathing, stretching and perineal massage, as well as education and pushing tips for labour.

2. Abdominal separation

We can also provide guidance and strategies on how to decrease the risk of abdominal separation (diastases recti) as well as exercises for restoring core strength and function postpartum. 

3. Pregnancy-related pain

While back and pelvic pain during pregnancy is common, this doesn’t mean that it is normal or something you just have to put up with. Appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises, support belts if needed, as well as hands-on treatment can help you to feel much more comfortable and keep you moving and sleeping well during your pregnancy. 

4. Exercise and Movement

There is so much research to support the benefit to exercising during pregnancy, but it can be hard to know exactly what to do. How much is too much, can I keep running, should I just do yoga? What is safe?! - These are some of the common questions we get asked and if exercise is on your mind then please come see us today, we are highly experienced in providing guidance and programs that are safe during pregnancy. 

5. Postpartum Recovery

Most Mamas return for a postpartum assessment around 6 weeks after baby is born. At this visit we are able to do a thorough assessment of pelvic health (perineal healing/scar tissue, bladder, bowel, prolapse and sexual function), as well as abdominal separation and core function, and provide treatment and guidance for returning to exercise. 

Here are some of my top tips for protecting your pelvic floor during pregnancy! 

  1. Breathe - A lot of us have a habit of breath holding during lifting or difficult tasks. However this increases the pressure on the pelvic floor and can limit how well your pelvic floor can engage. Instead - EXHALE on the EFFORT, whether it is doing weights at the gym, lifting groceries, or picking up children. 

  2. Mind your Bowels - Constipation unfortunately is a common experience during pregnancy thanks to hormonal changes that occur. Repetitive straining can cause undue stress on the pelvic organs and tissues, so support easy bowel motions as much possible is key. Eg. Good fluid and fibre intake, using a squatty potty/step stool to get the knees above the hips and breeathe to get things moving. 

  3. Let it go! - Most often when we hear about the pelvic floor, its all about Kegels, strengthening and tightening these muscles. But the relaxation aspect (especially during pregnancy!) is equally as important. Absolutely it is good to learn how to engage and connect with these muscles, but do be sure to practice letting them go as well. 

Blog written by Sami Cattach, B.Phty, Pelvic Health Physiotherapist @sami.mamaphysio who is practices at Lakeview Physiotherapy & Acupunture, and Intrinsi in Calgary. 


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