Women's Health PT During Pregnancy
Almost everyone has heard that a Chiropractor can help you feel better during pregnancy, but have you heard about Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy or a Women’s Health PT?
Women’s Health PTs are specialists in the musculoskeletal system focused around the abdomen, pelvis and pelvic floor. This includes a variety of conditions common in pregnancy including sciatica, sacroiliac (SI) dysfunction, pubic symphysis dysfunction (PSD), hip pain, low back pain, abdominal pain, diastasis rectus abdominis (DRA), and urinary and bowel concerns. In addition, here at The Fit Pelvis we help moms improve pelvic floor motor control and educate on pushing techniques for labor to reduce perineal tearing and improve recovery time postpartum.
Sciatica and Sacroiliac Dysfunction (SI)
Pain at the Sacroiliac joint (dimples where your low back meets your buttocks), into the buttock or back of the leg which occurs because the pelvis is changing position with your posture and the muscles are working harder as pregnancy progresses. There can be a hormonal component though this should result in only slight discomfort not pain that prevents you from walking, standing or sleeping. There is a full blog discussing these two conditions and their treatment. Check it out here.
Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction (PSD)
Sometimes described as “Lightning (or Lightening) Crotch”, this pain occurs in the pubic bone under the mons pubis in the front of your pelvis. It may be directly in the middle or worse on one side. This is caused by a muscle imbalance in the thigh, hips and core. The adductors on the inner thigh pull on the pubic bone and provide a piece of the stability when you walk and stand on one foot. When weakness, excess tension or posture changes occur the pull on the bone can increase and become painful. This is quickly resolved with dry needling to the adductors or glutes to promote tissue mobility. At home you can use a massage stick on the adductors and glutes but if you don’t notice changes within a few days, give us a call and Katy will see you quickly to keep you feeling your best.
Pain while you're walking or sleeping is frustrating at the end of pregnancy. Hip weakness and the changes in your posture with pregnancy cause tension in the Gluteus Medius and Minimus (hip muscles). Sleeping with a pillow between your knees and feet can help reduce the pressure on your hip. Strengthening these muscles and your core will improve your pain and keep you active throughout your pregnancy.
Low Back Pain
This is another common pregnancy complaint that gets ignored by almost everyone. This is often due to change in your gait pattern and center of balance. Your belly pushes your center of gravity forward and your hips go with it so your low back extends creating a greater arch and more pressure on the low back. Here, I address core and hip strength in order to bring your hips back over your heels into a comfortable position for you.
As your belly grows, the muscles, ligaments and your uterus are also stretching and growing. This may cause some discomfort which is often quickly alleviated with hands-on treatment to improve the tissue mobility and “release” tension. Kinesiotaping in a ‘U’ Pattern to lift the belly can be a great choice to reduce abdominal pain or discomfort. To apply the tape, start at the midline, underneath your belly, Pull the tape up and around your belly to the lower ribs on the side (directly under armpit). Repeat on the opposite side. When applying the tape, be sure to put a moderate amount of stretch everywhere except the last 1-2 inches on each end. If you know how to do a TrA contraction (pull belly up and in) do this just before applying the tape and hold until the tape is fully on. Every brand of tape is slightly different so be sure to follow the directions for wearing for your tape. Always GENTLY remove the tape if you have any itching, redness, or pain.
Diastasis Rectus Abdominis
Don’t wait until postpartum to heal your Diastasis. About ⅔ of women develop Diastasis or abdominal separation during pregnancy. The biggest factor is poor motor control, holding your breath during lifting and moving, and Transverse Abdominis weakness. The Transverse Abdominis is the deepest abdominal layer that supports your internal organs, partners with the pelvic floor and gives you a flat stomach. The one thing every mom can start immediately to prevent DRA is to avoid sitting straight up from bed or a reclined position. This includes getting off the exam table at the OB/Midwife appointment or ultrasound and getting off the couch. Instead, engage your pelvic floor and abdominals, roll to your side and push up to sitting with your arms. If you want the full guide to preventing DRA, get it free here.
Urinary and Bowel Concerns
Leaking and constipation are never normal. Both occur frequently during pregnancy, but a healthy core should be able to keep you dry even at 40+ weeks
of pregnancy. While you may pee more frequently during pregnancy, especially the 1st and 3rd trimesters, you should be able to get to the bathroom without rushing and have dry undies.
After your baby arrives, you may continue to have these symptoms for days or weeks. Any symptoms that do not resolve within 4 weeks or are impacting your ability to move around and care for yourself or your baby need to be addressed by a Women’s Health PT. If you aren’t sure if something is normal, call/text Katy at 214-600-8168 to find out!