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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Physio and having a baby

Physio and having a baby

Change to muscles, ligaments and joints during and after pregnancy affect the whole body. Physiotherapists help women manage these changes, providing expert care and advice during pregnancy, childbirth and beyond.


When preparing for childbirth and parenthood, women and their partners benefit from learning a range of physical techniques and coping skills.

Physiotherapists have the expertise to teach these skills, which include positioning, rhythmic movement, massage, relaxation and breathing awareness.


Exercise during pregnancy assists a return to normal body shape, muscle tone and strength after the baby is born.

Physiotherapists run ante-natal and post-natal low impact exercise classes (some in water) specifically for pregnant women and new mothers. These classes are designed to strengthen muscles, relieve pain and improve general fitness. Exercise in water has a number of particular benefits such as relieving swollen legs and promoting relaxation.


The weight of a growing baby causes changes to posture and puts strain on the back, pelvis, neck and shoulders. After the birth, everyday activities like lifting, carrying and feeding the baby can also lead to muscle soreness and joint problems.

Physiotherapists help women prevent and overcome pain in these areas through safe and effective therapies, including specific strengthening and stretching exercises, posture correction, gentle spinal movement and massage.


During pregnancy, the abdominal muscles are stretched and weakened. They may also separate down the midline.

Abdominal muscle weakness results in poor muscle control and backache.

Physiotherapists are trained to prescribe specific abdominal exercises to assist full recovery.


Blocked breast ducts and mastitis cause pain and breastfeeding difficulties.

Physiotherapists use ultrasound and massage to help mothers continue breastfeeding.


The pelvic floor muscles help support the pelvic organs. Pregnancy and childbirth may weaken these muscles, increasing the risk of incontinence (uncontrolled loss of urine or faeces) and prolapse (pelvic organs bulging into the vagina). Straining from constipation can also damage the pelvic floor muscles.

With expert assessment, treatment and instruction in self-help techniques, physiotherapists can help women prevent or reduce those problems.

taken from : http://www.physiotherapy.asn.au/

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