Prenatal Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy

Discover the transformative benefits of prenatal pelvic floor physiotherapy at InvigoPhysio! Enhance your pregnancy journey and optimize your birth experience with our comprehensive approach, tailored to your needs and goals.

Congratulations on your pregnancy, a time filled with immense joy! Yet, it also brings about a multitude of concerns regarding self-care. From prenatal supplements to dietary choices and exercise, these concerns become increasingly pressing as your pregnancy progresses and your baby grows. One invaluable means to support your body through this journey is prenatal pelvic floor physiotherapy.

Here, we will delve into the significance of pelvic floor physiotherapy during pregnancy and explore its benefits for both pregnancy and postpartum recovery.

What is the Pelvic Floor?

Prior to discussing the benefits and therapies that pregnant women can integrate into their pregnancies, it’s vital to understand the nature of the pelvic floor and the necessity of addressing any dysfunction.

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles and connective tissues forming the pelvis’s bottom. These muscles serve to:

  • Support the pelvis, including the organs such as the bladder, womb, vagina, and rectum.
  • Stabilize the hips and trunk, helping you to stand tall, walk, and move better.
  • Drain any excess fluids from the pelvic area via the lymphatic system.
  • Maintain control over the opening and closing of the urethra and anus for urinary and bowel continence.
  • Enhance any sexual function. This is done by improving the pelvic area’s blood flow, sensation, and muscle control.

Did you know that 1 in 3 women develop a form of urinary or fecal incontinence postpartum? However, with the help of pelvic physiotherapy, you can treat most causes of pelvic pain and dysfunctions.

What can Impact the Pelvic Floor?

The pelvis and surrounding muscles can be affected by many things, such as pregnancy, childbirth, age, injury, surgery, or stress.

If the pelvic floor muscles are either too tight or too weak, it can cause uncomfortable problems such as pain, leakage, prolapses, or even sexual dysfunction. That’s where pelvic floor physiotherapy comes in. It is a treatment that can help improve the strength, flexibility, and coordination across the pelvic floor muscles.

Common Pelvic Conditions during Pregnancy

The prenatal period can already present challenges without the added concern of a sore and achy pelvis. The prenatal period can already present challenges without the added concern of a sore and achy pelvis. It is important to recognize the symptoms that could indicate pelvic floor dysfunction during pregnancy:

  • Low back pain, including sciatica
  • Pelvic girdle pain
  • Pubic symphysis pain (lightning crotch, groin pain)
  • Tailbone pain
  • Lack of bladder control
  • Bowel incontinence
  • Genital pain
  • Pain with sexual activities
  • Constipation
  • Pelvic organ prolapse

Signs and Symptoms to Look for in Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) is a condition where the pelvic floor muscles, which support the bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum, are not working correctly. This can cause problems such as leakage, pain, or prolapse. Some of the signs and symptoms of PFD during pregnancy are:

  • Urinary incontinence – Accidental urine or stool leaks when coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercising are called stress incontinence. On the other hand, urge incontinence is defined by an abrupt and intense need to urinate, occasionally leading to leakage.
  • Heaviness in the pelvis – A feeling of heaviness, pressure, or bulging in the vagina or rectum may indicate that one or more pelvic organs have descended from their normal position. It is called pelvic organ prolapse.
  • Pelvis pain or any lower back, hips, or groin discomfort – This may be caused by hormonal and postural changes affecting pelvic floor muscles and joints during pregnancy.
  • Painful or obstruction during intercourse – Any pain experienced during or after intercourse may be attributed to tight or weak pelvic floor muscles. Conversely, feelings of obstruction and difficulty engaging in sexual activity may indicate pelvic organ prolapse. Such discomfort during intercourse can significantly impact your confidence, especially during the emotionally charged period of pregnancy

If you experience these symptoms, you may be the perfect candidate for pelvic floor physiotherapy during pregnancy. Your pelvic physiotherapist can work with you to provide the right treatments, support, and advice for your particular issues. PFD is not a standard or inevitable part of pregnancy, and it can be prevented or treated with prenatal pelvic floor physiotherapy. 

Benefits of Seeing a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist during Pregnancy

Pelvic floor physiotherapy is an excellent addition to your prenatal care. It will make your pregnancy journey easier and can positively impact your birth! Moreover, its benefits extend beyond pregnancy, significantly enhancing your postpartum recovery and overall quality of life.

The benefits include:

  • Preparation for childbirth: A pelvic health physiotherapist can help prepare the pelvic floor muscles for labor and delivery, potentially reducing the risk of complications during childbirth.
  • Prevention and management of pelvic floor dysfunction: Regular sessions with a pelvic health physiotherapist can help prevent or alleviate issues such as urinary incontinence, pelvic pain, and pelvic organ prolapse during pregnancy.
  • Strengthening pelvic floor muscles: Specific exercises prescribed by a pelvic health physiotherapist can strengthen pelvic floor muscles, promoting better support for the growing uterus and reducing the risk of pelvic floor muscle weakness.
  • Relief from pregnancy-related discomfort: Pelvic health physiotherapy can provide relief from common pregnancy-related discomforts such as lower back pain, pelvic girdle pain, and sciatica through targeted exercises and manual therapy techniques.
  • Preparation for postpartum recovery: Pelvic health physiotherapy during pregnancy can lay the foundation for a smoother postpartum recovery by addressing any existing pelvic floor issues and providing guidance on postnatal rehabilitation exercises.
  • Education and empowerment: Pelvic health physiotherapists offer valuable education on pelvic floor anatomy, proper posture, and techniques for labor and delivery, empowering pregnant individuals to actively participate in their own pelvic health and childbirth experience.

The InvigoPhysio Approach to Pelvic Physiotherapy

At InvigoPhysio, our prenatal pelvic floor physiotherapy approach is comprehensive and tailored to meet your individual needs and goals. Here’s what you can expect from our specialized care:

Assessment and Initial Consultation

We conduct a thorough assessment to understand your symptoms, medical history, and pregnancy-related concerns.

The initial assessment may include tests to evaluate your posture, body alignment, functional movements, strength and endurance of your core abdominals and surrounding pelvic muscles. It also includes an external and internal pelvic floor exam to evaluable the mobility, strength and coordination of your pelvic floor muscles.

Curious about what to expect during your first pelvic physiotherapy assessment? Learn more here.

Treatment Plan Tailored to Your Needs

After your assessment and thorough consultation, we collaborate with you to create a personalized treatment plan that aligns with your specific needs, activity goals, and overall health.

Our approach recognizes that every individual’s journey through pregnancy is unique, and we strive to tailor our interventions accordingly.

Your treatment plan may encompass a variety of therapies, including pelvic floor exercises, manual therapy techniques, acupuncture, K-taping, and a blend of yoga, pilates, and conditioning exercises meticulously selected to address your concerns and optimize pelvic health.

Our priority is to empower you with education and guidance, ensuring you are equipped with the knowledge and tools to actively participate in your recovery journey.

Whether you seek to alleviate discomfort, strengthen pelvic floor muscles, or prepare for childbirth, our comprehensive treatment plan is designed to support you at every stage of your pregnancy and beyond.

Therapies Offered

Individualized pelvic floor exercise program is meticulously designed to increase mobility and strength in the pelvic floor muscles, aiding in the prevention and treatment of various issues such as urinary or bowel leakage, pelvic organ prolapse, and sexual dysfunction.

Manual therapy encompasses a range of hands-on techniques aimed at alleviating pain and discomfort associated with hormonal and postural changes during pregnancy. By improving blood flow and optimizing muscle function in the pelvic area, manual therapy offers relief and support throughout the prenatal and postnatal stages.

In addition to pelvic floor exercises and manual therapy, we offer a variety of supplementary therapies tailored to individual needs. These may include acupuncture, which targets specific points to release muscle tension and promote healing, and K-taping to support and stabilize affected areas, ultimately restoring optimal biomechanics and functionality.

Education and guidance are integral components of our approach, empowering individuals with insights into returning to physical activities safely and effectively while minimizing the risk of further injury or discomfort. Our team provides personalized advice and strategies to support ongoing pelvic health and overall well-being.

Furthermore, our Pilates and yoga-based exercise programs are designed to complement therapeutic interventions by enhancing mobility, building strength, and improving overall function. These tailored programs offer a holistic approach to pelvic health, promoting long-term wellness and resilience.

Frequently Asked Questions

You’re welcome to schedule a visit at any time during pregnancy; however, it is important to schedule an appointment as soon as possible if you experience any symptoms. These symptoms may include pain during or after sex, frequent urination (more than three times per night), concerns about diastasis recti, or experiencing bladder leakage.

If you have no symptoms, we recommend scheduling your first prenatal visit any time after the first trimester. This allows us to establish a baseline for your pelvic floor health and, if necessary, develop a treatment plan. It’s common to discover issues during the assessment that weren’t previously evident. Together, we can create a plan of action to support you throughout the pregnancy, prepare you for the delivery, and postpartum recovery. 

A pelvic floor PT can help with several conditions during pregnancy and postpartum, including:

  • Incontinence, including urinary leakage and fecal incontinence.
  • Managing prolapse.
  • Pain during intercourse.
  • Abdominal wall separation, also known as diastasis recti.
  • Lower back and sciatica pain.
  • Pelvic girdle pain (including sacro-iliac joint and pubic pain) during pregnancy and after birth.
  • Tailbone pain.

A pelvic floor PT can be instrumental in restoring your confidence postpartum.

Pelvic floor physiotherapy offers comprehensive support in your journey to recovery after childbirth. By addressing common pelvic floor issues such as leakage, pain, or prolapse, our specialized treatment plans are tailored to your specific needs. Through a combination of targeted exercises and therapeutic techniques, we aim to enhance your pelvic health and overall well-being.

Whether you’re experiencing discomfort or seeking preventative care, pelvic floor physiotherapy can begin as early as six weeks after delivery. However, if you feel ready and comfortable, you may opt to start sooner with a referral from your physician, OBGYN, or midwife.

At InvigoPhysio, our priority is to ensure your comfort and boost your confidence throughout your postpartum journey. Our ultimate goal is to empower you to regain control and vitality in your life.

At your first prenatal pelvic floor appointment, your PT will gather information about your symptoms, medical history, and physical activity to better understand your concerns.

We’ll conduct a thorough physical assessment, including posture and breathing analysis, core and hip muscle strength exam. Your PT will perform external and internal exams of the pelvic floor to evaluate muscle tone, strength, and functionality. We understand discomfort can be daunting, especially during pregnancy, but we’ll work together to navigate it calmly and respectfully.

After the assessment, we’ll discuss findings and treatment options, such as manual therapy, exercises, education, and more. At InvigoPhysio, we’re committed to providing you with all the support and resources needed to optimize your visit.

Remember to wear comfortable clothing, and prepare by hydrating and emptying your bladder and bowel before your appointment.

 

If you are currently experiencing pelvic floor symptoms, you might need approximately 3 – 6 bi-weekly visits, depending on how severe the issue(s) are and your comfort levels.

If there are no issues, we suggest scheduling a follow-up appointment at 32-33 weeks, followed by another at 35 weeks, which marks the beginning of birth preparation. We invite you to bring your partner to the 35-week session so that we can assist both of you in preparing for labor together.

Exercise is beneficial for most pregnant women. It can improve physical fitness and prevent excessive weight gain while reducing the risk of gestational diabetes and other complications. It can also enhance mental well-being.

However, some exercises may need to be modified or avoided depending on your health, the stage of pregnancy, and comfort levels. Our PTs can help you design a safe and effective program that suits your needs and goals.

We can also assess and treat any issues related to your pelvic floor muscles and teach you how to strengthen and relax them. This can help you prepare for labour and prevent or manage postpartum pelvic floor dysfunction.

We also discuss this topic in more depth here.

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Unlock a healthier, more comfortable pregnancy journey and lay the foundation for a strong postpartum recovery.

Take charge of your pelvic health today.

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