Significant changes occur in a woman’s body during pregnancy. Many of these changes are physical in nature and affect the muscles and joints. Changing levels of hormones will affect the tightness of the ligaments thus influencing the joints. Also, as the baby grows and the volume of the abdomen increases, the center of gravity moves forward which increases the curve in the lower back. Abdominal muscles are then put on stretch and muscles in the back increase their tension to compensate. As a result of this joint compression, lumbar pain can develop. If the irritation persists, the nerves in the back can become irritated, resulting in referred pain down the leg.
So, what can you do?
First and foremost, it is important to practice proper ergonomics. For example, rolling onto your side before getting out of bed, sitting on the seat of the car then bringing your legs in, and keeping equal weight on both legs when standing.
Most women know the importance of performing Kegel exercises during pregnancy but may be hesitant to do any abdominal exercises. While crunches should be avoided, activating the deep abdominal muscles in positions that are suitable during pregnancy are very important. They can help prevent pain during pregnancy and quicken the recovery of muscle tone after delivery.
How can a Physiotherapist help?
Physiotherapists have manual therapy techniques that can help take pressure off joints and nerves that are irritated. They are also able to provide information about proper postures, body mechanics, abdominal supports, as well as general exercise programs during pregnancy. Specific programs of abdominal toning exercises, both during pregnancy and postpartum, can be tailored to each client’s individual needs.
Don’t let back pain slow you down during your pregnancy. Consult a Physiotherapist who can help you enjoy such a special time in your life!
Please inquire at A Step Ahead Physiotherapy if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.
Written by Lynn Williams, PT