Pre-natal Care and Post-Natal Care
During pregnancy there are many changes happening to a woman’s body; both inside and outside. At Rebalance, we have developed a gentle, comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to managing a woman who is pre- or post-natal.
Statistics show that at least 50% of pregnant women will experience back pain, with many suffering from severe discomfort that impacts their activities of daily living. Pregnancy-related back pain can be multi-factorial and rarely only has one cause. Changes in the pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy can lead to many issues. Low back, tailbone, and hip pain and incontinence (urine leakage) are common complaints during pregnancy.
The average healthy weight gain is approximately 30 lbs, most of which is around the abdomen -- adding a significant frontal load. The added weight puts stress on the back, pelvis, hips, knees and feet/ankles. Additional weight can lead to altered posture and biomechanics as we change the way we sleep, stand, and move during pregnancy. As the baby grows and the uterus expands, the abdominal muscles also stretch and lose their ability to support as they did before pregnancy. The change in posture, shifting forward, may cause bladder issues, pain and discomfort, specifically in the lower back. The additional weight of the uterus on your bladder and pelvic floor muscles often result in urinary leakage. Pregnant ladies often notice that they leak urine when they sneeze or find it more difficult to hold their urine when they have the urge to go the bathroom.
During the third trimester, there are increased levels of the hormone Relaxin that contributes to the loosening of joints throughout the body. This serves the purpose of allowing more laxity in the pelvis to accommodate for the growing baby and birthing process. However, the loosening of joints can decrease joint stability and further alter posture. Other structures including musculature may be taxed, resulting in a predisposition to pain and injury.
Childbirth can weaken and/or damage the pelvic floor muscle and low back which can lead to pain and other related issues.
Women report pain and discomfort including:
· Back pain
· Pelvic pain and pressure
· Pelvic pain during intercourse
· Neck pain
· Aching legs and buttocks
· Urinary incontinence
· Peripheral swelling
· Sciatica or shooting pain down the leg/foot
· Fatigue and low energy
· Night-time muscle spasms
· Carpal tunnel syndrome
· De Quervain tenosynovitis
· Sleep disturbances
· Pelvic organ prolapse
PELVIC HEALTH PHYSIOTHERAPY AND PREGNANCY
Pelvic health physiotherapy plays an important role in pre-and post-natal (during and after pregnancy) care. A pelvic health physiotherapist has advanced training in pregnancy-related issues by providing guidance, manual therapy to the pelvic floor (internal and external treatment) and prescribing safe exercises needed to meet the challenges during pregnancy, labour and delivery.
Pre-natal treatments focus on preventing and treating:
· Incontinence (urine leakage)
· Pelvic organ prolapse
· Low back and pelvic pain including painful intercourse.
· Preparing your body for childbirth by minimizing risks of pelvic floor trauma (i.e: tearing) during labour.
Postpartum treatments focus on treating:
· Scarring from c-section, tearing or episiotomy
· Incontinence (urine or fecal leakage)
· Pelvic organ prolapse
· Low back and pelvic pain including painful intercourse
· Diastasis Recti (separation of the abdominal muscles)
Every woman in France who goes through a vaginal delivery is offered pelvic health Physiotherapy as part of their recovery process. “The muscles are massaged, lengthened, stretched and strengthened to prevent the weakness that can lead to incontinence, or the tightness which can result from a tear or episiotomy.” (Pelvic Health Solution, 2016)
Although it is common to experience urinary leakage, low back pain and organ prolapse, it is important to know that it can be treated. These dysfunctions can cause extreme pain and negatively impact your life.
For more information about pelvic health physiotherapy please visit the “Pelvic Health Physiotherapy” page of our website.
EVIDENCE-BASED CHIROPRACTIC CARE
According to recent studies, chiropractic care may result in easier pregnancy, including increased comfort during the third trimester and delivery, and reduced need for analgesics. In one study, women receiving chiropractic care through their first pregnancy had 24 per cent shorter labour times and subjects giving birth for the second or third time reported 39 per cent shorter labour times.5 In another study, the need for analgesics was reduced by 50 per cent in the patients who had received adjustments. In addition, 84 per cent of women report relief of back pain during pregnancy with chiropractic care!7 And because the sacroiliac joints of the pelvis function better, there is significantly less likelihood of back labour (contractions and sharp pain felt in the lower back/sacral area during labour) when receiving chiropractic care during pregnancy.8
Studies have shown that manual therapy, including chiropractic and physiotherapy, can help decrease pain in pregnancy and labour. They provide safe, effective and drug-free conservative care to relieve pain and improve function during pregnancy and after birth.
Conservative care including soft tissue therapy and spinal manipulation and mobilization of joints can help reduce pain and improve function. Our practitioners will also recommend both mobility and strengthening exercises to help rehabilitate postural changes and make you feel comfortable throughout your pregnancy.
How can our practitioners help?
· Reduce back and pelvic pain
· Relieve fatigued, aching muscles
· Help prepare for childbirth
· Ensure a faster recovery after labour