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Physical Therapy During Pregnancy

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When a woman becomes pregnant, she might buy into the stories surrounding pregnancy as inevitabilities. Her back may hurt. Her hips may ache, A forceful sneeze may make her urinate. None of these standard pregnancies aches, pains, and annoyances have to come with growing a tiny human, however. With a regular regimen of outpatient physical therapy, most women can get through even the last few weeks of a pregnancy relatively pain-free. 

Urinary Incontinence

Hormones and a growing uterus and baby can put extra pressure on a woman's bladder. Couple that with precious kicks and punches to the organ, and leaks seem inevitable. However, kegel exercises can do a lot to help prevent leaks, and an outpatient physical therapy practitioner can teach the proper way to do them. Generally, what they teach is to relax the muscles on an inhale and contract the muscles around the urethra, vagina, and sphincter on an exhale. Doing kegel exercises regularly will not only prevent urinary incontinence, but also increase the mother's effectiveness during the pushing phase of labor, prevent perineal tears during birth, and help her heal faster after birth. 

Aches and Pains

Many of the aches and pains associated with pregnancy, such as sciatic nerve pain, back aches, and pubic symphysis pain, are due to a misalignment in the hips and pelvis. A physical therapist can check a woman's skeleton to see if her hips and pelvis tilt to one side or the other or to the front or back. This misalignment can be due to tense or weak muscles that pull the hips and pelvis away from the center of the body. A therapist can help with simple strength-building and muscle-relaxing exercises that will help the hips and pelvis settle into perfect alignment. A well-aligned pelvis also will ease the baby's passage when it's time for him or her to be born. It's much easier for a baby to pass through an aligned pelvis than to navigate a slight turn through a misaligned one. 

Core Strength

Joints become looser as a pregnancy progresses, allowing bones to move slightly as a baby is born. As a result, a pregnant woman's balance can become difficult to maintain, and aches and pains can result. A strong core can help support the hips as the joints begin to loosen. A physical therapist can help a pregnant woman improve her core strength, even with a big belly. In addition to physical therapy sessions, prenatal yoga is an excellent way to build strength.