Pregnancy can lead to pains in nearly every part of a woman’s body. Specifically, the majority of women experience leg cramps, joint issues, and back discomfort. A healthcare provider can help you identify what’s causing this pain and how you can recover, which could include physical therapy. These treatments and some simple exercises can prepare your body for pregnancy and a healthy delivery.

 

Common Causes for Pain

 

The body undergoes quite a transformation during pregnancy. An expecting mother must adjust to hormone fluctuations, weight gain (which may lead to balance issues), and anxiety. Pain is often caused by poor posture, though, as women work to physically accommodate a growing baby. Physical therapy is a natural way to relieve these aches and pains, as it promotes mobility and helps you through these changes. This can be an excellent part of your prenatal care, but it’s important to consult with an experienced physical therapist as well as your healthcare provider before starting any new exercises.

 

How Physical Therapy Treatment Plans Work

 

These treatment plans target any issues you’re struggling with, such as range of motion limitations or back pain. Over time, these exercises and adjustments can help you:

 

  • Decrease pain
  • Identify the root causes of any discomfort
  • Correct and realign your joints and posture
  • Increase your flexibility
  • Restore balance
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve muscle strength

 

Once you consult with a physical therapist, he or she can develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Exercise will likely be a part of this strategy.

Exercises

 

Depending on your pain level and where you are in your pregnancy, your physical therapist will help you through an exercise program. For example, you may focus on strengthening the back and abdomen if you have lumbar pain. Other possible exercises include:

 

  • Swimming. This activity provides excellent cardiovascular benefits, in fact, it’s great for practically every part of your body. It’s low impact, and if you focus on correct form, you’ll engage you core and the other muscles that contribute to good balance.

 

  • Yoga. This provides fantastic exercise for pregnant women and can help them prepare for labor. Certain yoga styles focus on breathing and posture, which provide mental and physical relief and endurance. Look for postures that minimize time on your back. Lay on your side or place a pillow under your knees for shavasana.

 

  • Kegel exercises. These exercises prep a woman for the big day, and they’re simple and easy to do wherever you are. Simply identify where your Kegel muscles are, and contract and relax them. These are the muscles used during pregnancy, which can help during the delivery.

 

Along with these exercises, your physical therapist will likely recommend some basic habits to help you adjust to pregnancy. For example, it’s important to squat instead of bending over. Rest and a good diet are also vital, and they go a long way in reducing pain.

 

Consult With an Experienced Physical Therapist

 

These exercises can lead to some big improvements, but it’s important not to start a new regimen on your own. Consult with an experienced physical therapist to develop the best possible treatment plan. For help finding a PT, try the American Physical Therapy Association’s database.