By Cora Tomowich, MScPT, Hons BKin
So you’ve got a bun in the oven and a song in your heart, for you are about to become a mom! As you gradually work towards preparing for the baby, decorating the nursery, and planning the shower, you might want to ask yourself: “When should I work on me?”
Preparing yourself for pregnancy, labour, and motherhood goes far beyond pre-natal yoga and group birthing classes. Pelvic floor physiotherapy can give you a myriad of tools and exercises that you will need to better manage carrying your baby, going through labour, and living your life as a new mom. So, without further ado, here are my top seven reasons why beginning pelvic floor physiotherapy early in pregnancy is a great idea:
1. You will develop good postural habits from the start
Pregnancy poses significant changes to your body – many of which involve gradual changes to alignment, joint flexibility, and posture. Some new mums experience low back, hip, and/or abdominal pain during pregnancy simply because they are not aware of how to find and maintain good positioning. Together, we will practice ways to optimize posture during your daily activities and, when necessary, use external support to prevent pain.
2. This is the perfect time to connect with your pelvic floor
In only a few short months, a person is going to come out of your body and into the world! The muscle group that is most significantly affected by this transition is the pelvic floor. In my experience, new mums who regularly practice how to properly connect with the pelvic floor during pregnancy, tend to experience a shorter, less painful delivery and better post-partum recovery. I have found this to be true for vaginal and C-section births.
3. Manual therapy will normalize and maintain healthy pelvic muscle tone
As baby gets bigger, the demands on the pelvic floor also increase. Sometimes, the pelvic floor can develop tension points or areas of overactivity that make it difficult to enjoy sex, have a bowel movement, control urinary incontinence, and/or perform your exercises properly. The only way to determine where you might be tight is through internal manual therapy. Many of my patients report feeling significant improvements in their pelvic tension and pain after internal work and even go as far as to say that it helped their tissues stay flexible and relaxed during labour.
4. You can prepare your deep core for pregnancy, birth, and motherhood
After eliminating excessive muscle tension and learning how to properly connect with the pelvic floor, we practice how to develop good core strategies that you will use for the rest of your life! By targeting deep core strength through exercise, we practice all kinds of ways to prevent post-partum issues such as incontinence, low back or pelvic pain, vaginal heaviness, upper back or neck pain, constipation, chronic fatigue, and the list goes on…
(For details see: http://darouwellness.com/5-ways-prepare-body-pregnancy-birth/)
5. You can learn and practice proper toileting habits
Many women experience constipation and incontinence during their pregnancies. With physiotherapy, we can improve bowel elimination, prevent urinary or bowel leakage, optimize fluid and supplement intake, and practice toileting positions. We will also discuss several at-home techniques that can be very useful to making sure your bowel and bladder eliminations remain healthy and under control!
6. You can demystify the labour process and know all of your options
A large portion of my work involves patient education. Many new mums will feel a bit nervous or even scared about labour, however, I find that the more we talk about it, the more the whole process becomes less daunting. We demystify and understand the many misconceptions around labour; and many patients later tell me how helpful it was to have these conversations. In fact, one of my patients told me that she kept hearing my “reassuring words” while she was in labour and was able to remain calm throughout the whole process
7. You learn and practice alternative birthing positions so you can make informed decisions
Whether you are with a midwife or an OB/GYN; whether you opt for an epidural or not; and whether your partner is in the room with you or out in the hall, you have options for how you can give birth. The most common piece of feedback that I receive from patients is how happy they were to know their options before going into labour. We practice several different birthing positions and discuss the benefits of each so that you can make informed decisions when your baby is ready to join the world!
If you have any specific questions about your pregnancy or how pelvic floor physiotherapy can help you,do not hesitate to call us here are Darou, we would love to hear from you!