Agnieszka Cedrowska MPT
Master of Physical Therapy
Are you planning to get pregnant? Are you pregnant right now? Or have you already become a mother? If you answered yes to any of the above, you should definitely find out more about urogynaecological physiotherapy. It will help you go through these important stages of a woman’s life in excellent health and fitness, with well-trained pelvic floor muscles ensuring benefits for your whole life.
When you are planning conscious motherhood, you usually undergo basic tests to verify your health, but you often forget to prepare your body for pregnancy in terms of the burden the body will be experiencing for a period of 9 months. A urogynaecological physiotherapist will help you properly plan an adequate dose of physical exercise (to stabilise your spine). S/he will make you aware of correct toilet habits and proper body posture as well as the ability to avoid overloading the locomotor system in everyday activities, which will be beneficial in the future. So, when your growing baby will cause the uterine ligaments to stretch, the internal organs will dislocate and begin to press against the diaphragm. Then, the pelvic floor will be required to provide strong support and you will be perfectly prepared for this. Train your deep pelvic floor muscles before pregnancy because it will ensure that they are better prepared for the new task...
Pregnancy is a wonderful time in a woman’s life. However, it entails a series of changes occurring in the mother-to-be’s body. The extending uterine along with the baby and the growing breasts cause the centre of gravity to be displaced. The body posture changes, thus causing the physiological spinal curvatures to deepen. The hormones secreted (relaxin, steroid sexual hormones) have a relaxing effect on the joints, thus resulting in their excessive mobility, which – in turn – along with the increasing load may cause different types of pain – e.g. backache (in the cervical, thoracic or lumbar spine), pain in the sacro-iliac joints, hips, knees, feet, pain in the public symphysis, subcostal pain or sciatica symptoms.
Therefore, do not procrastinate making your appointment with a urogynaecological physiotherapist. S/he can relieve your pain by using gentle and safe techniques (manual therapy, soft tissue therapy, neuromobilisation and kinesiotaping).You will not have to lie, suffer and wait for the delivery. On the contrary, you will be active and able to withhold this significant effort that is related to childbirth. A physiotherapist will correct your body posture, select and teach you suitable exercise techniques depending on the current stage of your pregnancy. S/he will show you how to consciously activate and relax the pelvic floor muscles, which will let you avoid injuries or perineotomy (crotch incision) thus making it possible to shorten the 2nd phase of delivery (pushing out your baby). When trained during pregnancy, the pelvic floor muscles take shorter to regain their functions afterwards.
A physiotherapist will motivate you to work and remind you why physical effort is so important during pregnancy. Remember that exercise support your pregnancy and childbirth. Exercise will help you enjoy better mood, have a more favourable appearance (lower tendency for stretch marks to develop), control your weight, and – after the childbirth – return to fitness and face your new challenges. Moreover, research and statistics confirm that physically active women are less common to develop such pregnancy pathologies as premature childbirth, post-term pregnancy or improper foetus position.
When you finally become a mother, irrespective of the type of childbirth (natural delivery or a Caesarean section), a urogynaecological physiotherapist can offer his/her assistance again. S/he will show you how to safely return to your physical activities in order to reduce the rectus abdominis muscle lacuna, which will help you get rid of your protruding post-pregnancy belly. S/he will also target the pelvic instability (e.g. pain in the public symphysis), mobilise the scar following the Caesarean section or perineotomy (crotch incision), correct your body posture and restore the normal breathing rate, as well as minimise – through exercising the pelvic floor – the risk of stress urinary incontinence, lowering of the small pelvis organs, urinary urgencies or painful intercourse after childbirth.
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