By Healthweb | March 28, 2023
Pregnancy Physiotherapy Services provide the clinical skills and knowledge our trained physiotherapists have to assess and treat pregnant women who present with physical difficulties, weakness and pain in any part of their body during their pregnancy.
At Physiotherapy for Women, we provide the necessary consultation time to firstly listen to your story of pain, stiffness or poor movement and understand your medical history. It is also important to hear how you are actually feeling within yourself and what you think is the cause of your discomfort. Assessment by your physio will then occur to reach a diagnosis. Treatment of the problem or injury may involve manual therapy, soft tissue release, therapeutic ultrasound, dry needling, taping, fitting of support braces or garments and a selection of exercises specifically designed for you.
At the end of your physio session, information is provided that will assist you to be more comfortable in your home and work environment, helping you understand how to help yourself. A management plan will be discussed and if required further consultations will be arranged as needed.
Obstetricians and medical carers often refer a pregnant woman to Physiotherapy for Women, as our clinical appraisal and treatment is well recognized. However, any pregnant woman can seek out our Pregnancy Physiotherapy Services as a medical referral is not required.
What are the usual pregnancy conditions requiring physiotherapy?
Common pregnancy conditions treated by our physiotherapists are as follows:
- Pelvic girdle pain, low back pain, buttock muscle pain, hip pain/stiffness, sacroiliac joint pain, sciatica, pubic joint (symphysis) pain
- Shoulder blade pain, thoracic (mid back) pain/stiffness, rib pain, neck pain/stiffness, headaches
- Pelvic floor muscle weakness, bladder weakness, urinary leakage/incontinence
- Core abdominal muscle weakness/pain, round ligament pain/cramping
- Leg muscle cramping
- Carpal tunnel syndrome, wrist and finger pain/tingling/numbness
Why are pregnancy support belts/garments and taping used?
When the joints, ligaments and muscles of the pregnant pelvis are not working efficiently and as a supportive unit, the pregnant pelvis will have difficulty transferring weight bearing force from the legs to the spine and vice versa. This forms the basis for pregnancy related pelvic girdle pain.
In the situation above, the physiotherapist may need to fit a pelvic belt, abdominal support, SRC Pregnancy Shorts or Leggings to the pregnant woman experiencing pelvic joint/muscle pain. These options provide support around the pregnant woman’s pelvis and lumbar spine, enabling basic walking and standing activity to be more comfortable.
Specific forms of taping used in pregnancy include rigid taping with under wrap and Kinesiology Taping. These types of taping may be chosen to take the strain off overworking muscles, painful joints, ligaments and nerves. Taping of the mid back, ribs, abdomen, shoulder and low back may be required to support the area and promote healing of tissues following treatment.
What are the benefits of Physiotherapy Pregnancy Exercise Classes?
Please refer to the services provided section for information on Pregnancy Exercise Classes at Physiotherapy for Women.
When is Labour TENS relevant to a pregnant woman?
The word TENS means Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. Since the 1960’s, TENS has been used in pain modulation. A low frequency current produces a tingling sensation on the skin beneath surface electrodes. The messages travel via nerve pathways to the spinal cord and brain, where pain messages can be decreased or altered.
Labour TENS is very safe with no known side effects for mother or baby. It can be useful in assisting a woman to be more active with her birthing process by reducing drug medication.
Physiotherapy for Women has available for hire the portable, battery operated NeuroTrac Obstetric TENS unit, including four high quality electrodes which stick onto the skin of the low back and gluteal muscles. It is user friendly and easy to use in labour. The obstetric TENS unit has a boost switch for additional pain control, this being useful during an intense uterine contraction and/or strong labour back pain. It is this boost button which makes it different to ordinary TENS.
It is advisable to practice using the labour TENS unit 2-3 weeks before your expected delivery date.
If a pregnant woman is unfamiliar with the application of TENS in labour, we provide a clinic training time with one of our physiotherapists. You are given the chance to use the unit with electrodes placed on your skin and the physio explains what you feel and why. You also get the chance to use the boost button.
The labour TENS practice consultation covers a time period of 20 minutes and is set at an affordable price. Physiotherapy for Women hire the NeuroTrac units out for a four week period.