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The Benefits of Prenatal Physical Therapy for a Healthy Pregnancy & Beyond

Updated: Jan 16

Hey there! As I’ve journeyed through the dual roles of being a mom of 3 and a physical therapist with a special focus on women's health, I’ve come to realize just how transformative prenatal physical therapy can be for all of us. Besides treating many of the symptoms that can pop up during pregnancy, being proactive and learning about your body’s core and pelvic floor and how to connect can catapult your healing in the early postpartum period.

Why Prenatal Physical Therapy? Here’s My Take:

Tackling Back and Pelvic Pain

Many of us experience that nagging back, hip, and pelvic pain while during pregnancy. Understanding how to relieve the tension patterns that develop as your body changes, how to stay strong and balanced in your body, and how to accommodate a growing belly can alleviate those pesky pains before they turn into a larger problem. Here are just a few of MANY examples of effective stretches: Umbrella Breath in Kneeling, Standing Hip Stretch, Pec Stretch on the Wall

Getting Our Posture Spot On

As our babies grow inside, our bodies continually adapt. Some of these adaptations are necessary and some of them become a habit. Our posture affects the balance and function in our ribcage, core, and pelvis - all the places that we want to keep in optimal order during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Some quick examples are the Wall Angels and Alignment 101. Through physical therapy, I introduce moms to concepts like these to help maintain that perfect alignment. Trust me, both you and your baby will thank you!

Staying Active and Mobile

I’m a firm believer in the power of movement, especially during pregnancy. Whatever it is you love to do, keep on doing it! There may be times to make modifications for your individual pregnancy or for symptoms, and that is where using your physical therapist as a coach can be a game changer. With tailored exercises and movements, physical therapy ensures we remain active and embrace physical wellness throughout this journey.

Prepping for The Big Day

Here’s where physical therapy truly shines! Did you know keeping your breathing diaphragm and pelvic floor mobile throughout your pregnancy can be a game changer for your core strength and the way your body responds to labor? And that an improved connection and understanding of all of these parts can translate into increased trust in your body and empowerment during your birth? And importantly, learning physical therapy concepts during pregnancy helps you to prep for the postpartum period by understanding what to do, so right when you get busy caring for a new human and don’t have time to go to appointments for yourself, you will already have knowledge on what to do to create optimal healing and how to get back into exercise. By introducing specific exercises and concepts that focus on strength, flexibility, and mental readiness, we’re effectively prepping our bodies for a smoother labor and delivery. And who doesn’t want that?

Navigating The Trimesters: My Recommendations

First Trimester

Gentle stretches and pelvic floor exercises are your best friends. This may be a time of reflection and initial symptoms or fatigue and nausea as your body gets used to being pregnant. Everyone is different and it’s important to adjust movement and life to your needs.

Second Trimester

This is where core strengthening, balance exercises, and that ever-important pelvic floor come into play. You have a lot of energy during this phase and the capacity to take on new information and make sure your body is adapting to pregnancy well. It’s a time to set yourself up for success as your body takes on some changes.

Third Trimester

As we approach the finish line, it’s all about breathing, relaxation, connecting with your body, and gearing up for labor. We also make sure your body is in balance as your belly and baby grow in those final weeks. Together, we'll focus on exercises to make this time as comfortable and confident as possible.

Post-Baby? Postpartum PT Has Got You Covered!

After our little ones arrive, the journey doesn't just end. Gentle movement like the postnatal modified child's pose can be truly rejuvenating. Re-connection work can help your deep core and pelvic floor to heal. How you stand, feed, and hold your baby can make a big difference in how your hips and back heal. How you breathe can bring your core back to life. These are all things you can start right away, under the guidance of a physical therapist, before the 6 week follow-up OB session (your physical therapist will check for readiness). The foundation we've built during our prenatal sessions will pave the way for a seamless postpartum phase. We'll focus on gentle recovery exercises, and trust me, you'll be back to feeling connected in your body in no time.

A Few Questions I Often Get…

“Should I dive into core pelvic PT during pregnancy, even if I’m pain-free?” My answer? Yes, absolutely! From supporting our changing bodies to prepping for birth and setting ourselves up for a smoother postpartum phase, the benefits are plenty.

And for the new mamas wondering when to jump back into physical therapy post-baby? Don’t wait for that arbitrary six-week mark. Let’s start ASAP. Remember, not all PT is about hardcore exercises! Starting with exercises like deep belly breathing can be transformative! It’s about understanding, reconnecting, stabilizing from the inside-out, and setting the stage for our bodies to heal and thrive.

To all the beautiful moms and moms-to-be out there, prenatal physical therapy is like that trusty roadmap guiding us through the ups and downs of pregnancy. By incorporating these practices, we can make our pregnancy journey even more enriching, ensuring we’re ready to step into the beautiful chaos of motherhood with grace and strength.

Ready to Dive Deeper into Postpartum Healing?

I’d love to invite you to join my self-paced online workshop: The ABCs of Postpartum Healing. It’s an insightful journey with videos covering everything from understanding your core to debunking common postpartum myths. But you won't just be watching videos – you'll be gaining an in-depth understanding of alignment, breathing, and the vital core connection.

What truly sets this workshop apart is the individualized coaching tailored to YOUR unique body and experiences. At the end of the course, we’ll connect for a 30-minute live follow-up call. It’s a safe space for you to share your story, get clarity on healing concepts, and seek answers to any burning questions. I'm here to guide you every step of the way.

Sign up now or contact me if you have questions, and let's get started!

Written and medically reviewed by Dr. Brenda, DPT


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