How physiotherapy helps with urinary incontinence and other challenges pre- and post-pregnancy

Did you know that physiotherapy can be an essential part of every woman’s pregnancy journey? Physiotherapists who have specialised in women’s health can provide advice and assistance through the entire journey — from conception, the 40 weeks of pregnancy and the postnatal period after a vaginal or caesarean birth. 

Body pain during pregnancy

Physiotherapists understand the effects of pregnancy on a female’s body, the changes that occur during each trimester and how to treat the common problems that can occur. Many women will experience pain during pregnancy as the ligaments loosen, normal weight gain occurs and the body changes shape to make space for the growing uterus and foetus. 

The most common body pains that physiotherapists can help with during pregnancy are:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain 
  • Pelvic girdle pain (including sacroiliac joint and pubic symphysis)
  • Calf pain, tightness and cramps
  • Wrist and hand pain including carpal tunnel and De Quervain’s syndrome

Our experienced physiotherapists can do an assessment of the painful area and provide advice on how to manage the symptoms. They can also perform any hands-on treatment that’s required and teach you how to do exercises that will help your recovery. It’s really important to get any antenatal problems sorted before your baby is born as it may affect your ability to care for your child. This is also vitally important as it might be difficult to find the time once you have a newborn!

Exercising safely during pregnancy

Physiotherapists can provide advice about how to exercise safely during pregnancy and will be able to suggest any modifications to your current program. 

Most women can exercise during their pregnancy and should include 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise and two strength training sessions a week. If there are concerns about your pregnancy, your obstetrician may limit your exercise, and your physiotherapist will liaise with your obstetric team to ensure your exercise choices are safe. Life Ready Physio supervised pre- and postnatal Pilates programs can be an amazing way to continue to exercise with a focus on your core strength and whole body fitness. 

Urinary incontinence during pregnancy

Our Life Ready physiotherapists who specialise in women’s health are very experienced at helping women with urinary incontinence and other bladder problems. 

Pregnancy can be the first time women experience urine leakage and it can be quite embarrassing! To prevent this from happening, women can receive individualised advice and learn how to do pelvic floor exercises correctly. Women can also learn to relax the pelvic floor muscles correctly, which can help with the second stage of labour during a vaginal delivery.

Recovery after childbirth

Life Ready women’s health physiotherapists are a very important part of the childbirth recovery process. We can help women who are recovering from a vaginal delivery with problems such as episiotomy or perineal pain, vaginal heaviness and prolapse, urinary or faecal incontinence and sexual pain after childbirth. 

Women who have had a caesarean delivery also benefit from physiotherapy with advice on scar tissue massage and appropriate exercises to help the abdominal muscles to return to full strength and function. 

Abdominal muscle separation is common during pregnancy and it can persist after childbirth in some women. Life Ready women’s health physiotherapists can assess the abdominal muscle separation (rectus abdominis diastasis), and provide an individualised exercise program to ensure that it comes back together again. You can find more information about rectus abdominis diastasis here.

Life Ready highly recommend a postnatal assessment by our women’s health physiotherapists to all women who are returning to exercise. If you are keen to get back to exercise, book an appointment to get your body assessed to identify any areas of weakness and thus ensure you can return to the exercise of your choice safely. 

Would you like more information on postnatal assessments at Life Ready? You can find out more here. We also have more details on our pre- and postnatal care program, as well as the specific program we offer in Melbourne.

Seek help now by making an appointment!

If you have any concerns about your pregnancy or your recovery from childbirth, please make an appointment with our women’s health team. It may also help you to contact our women’s health specialist physiotherapists via email to ask specific questions:

Libby Borman libbyborman@lifereadyphysio.com.au

Valerie Lorenz valerielorenz@lifereadyphysio.com.au