The human body miraculously adapts to several different changes throughout life. During pregnancy, the female body experiences several physical changes to accommodate the growth of new life and delivery. However, these changes bring with them the possibility of several ailments that soon-to-be mothers may face. At Farmingdale Physical Therapy West, we encourage all pregnant physical therapy patients to exercise. Exercising reduces pain and aids recovery following birth, allowing new mothers to stay in the healthiest condition possible.
#1 – Creating and Maintaining Posture
As a result of carrying around a child, women are often forced to change their posture during pregnancy. This can cause strain on the back, as well as the way they walk around. Without the proper treatment, this could lead to back pain, and in an extreme situation, a herniated disc.
It’s essential to maintain proper posture by strengthening/stretching postural muscles. Additionally, pregnant women should focus on proper posture while sitting, standing, bending or lifting. In the residual phase following pregnancy, these principles still apply.
During physical therapy, our specialists can make recommendations about improving posture.
#2 – Pelvic Stabilization
Because the center of gravity of the body shifts forward with the growing child, pelvic stabilization becomes even more important. Keeping the pelvic bone and muscles stabilized is also essential. This is something we focus on during physical therapy, but carries special importance during pregnancy.
One exercise that women can perform to overcome this is a standing pelvic tilt. When standing against the wall, draw in your abdomen with the small of your back against the wall slowly and deliberately. Do this for 30 reps.
#3 – Stretching
As the baby continues to grow and the stomach expands, stomach cramping may occur. This can be limiting for the pelvis, causing muscles in front of the thighs to become tight.
Stretching can aid in decreasing this cramping. For example, stretching the hip flexors will decrease these tight muscle feelings. To perform this exercise, lean forward at the hips while your back is flat. Hold this stretch at 15 seconds if possible.
We offer stretching as a physical therapy service to help those who need guidance.
#4 – Maintain Upper Body Strength
Even after giving birth, the body will continue to respond to changes. External factors– like the need to carry your child and heavy supplies– mandate that new mothers maintain a certain level of upper body strength.
Bicep curls are a simple and easy activity to start with. Using light dumbbells at 10 reps and 3 sets is a great start. You can do this while either standing or sitting.
If this is a deviation from your previous lifestyle, then be sure to consult with a doctor first. Physical therapy is a great place to explore your capabilities without overexerting. Drink water to hydrate often, and never exercise to the point of fatigue.
Farmingdale Physical Therapy
We have a full team of physical therapists who are trained to help pregnant women live a more comfortable life. Contact us to schedule an appointment or learn how to perform exercises without injuring yourself.