Body Awareness Pre-Natal Care

pregnant lady (21K)

A women's body is constantly changing from the moment of conception. Hormonal and physical changes affect not only the stresses placed on her body, but the way she moves as well.

As the abdomen grows and weight is gained, increasing stress is placed on the spine and lower extremities. Any deficits in strength, stability, or range of motion will be exacerbated throughout pregnancy. The earlier the problem is addressed (by the 20th week), the greater the chances of success in eliminating the condition. Although it is still effective to address these conditions in the later stages of pregnancy, the goal becomes primarily one of pain relief and maintenance of current function.

Often times, pain develops due to a muscle imbalance that was present prior to pregnancy and only now presents itself with the increasing stress of weight gain and postural changes of a growing abdomen. Once the mechanical stress of the injury is addressed, increased pain relief and greater ability for successful function in daily activities and work requirements can be obtained. Immediate pain relief through hands on treatment is the first goal of physical therapy. As the initial pain is under control, we then continue hands-on treatment in conjunction with appropriate exercises geared toward maintaining function. Patient education is important for injury prevention through proper body mechanics with typical daily activities such as sitting, bending, squatting, and walking. We assess the expectant mother's mechanics with these activities and offer alternative ways to accomplish her daily activities without creating injury or increasing pain.

Common Prenatal conditions that can be addressed in physical therapy:
  • Sciatica
  • Low Back Pain
  • Mid and Upper Back Pain
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Knee Pain
  • Groin Pain
  • Early Stress Incontinence (prior to 8th month)
What the patient can expect:
  • A comprehensive evaluation of the condition to determine why she is experiencing pain.
  • An assessment of the patient's body mechanics for her activities of daily living.
  • Hands on treatment to relieve pain and spasm.
  • Specific exercises targeted for maintaining function.
  • Education of the condition and contributing factors that may have helped to cause the condition.
  • Home maintenance program.

If you are currently experiencing pain or loss of function you may be a candidate for physical therapy. Your health insurance may cover physical therapy treatment with a referral from your physician. Ask your OB/GYN if physical therapy is appropriate for you.

What if I am not experiencing pain or dysfunction but want to prevent injury during pregnancy?

You may be a candidate for Body Awareness Pregnancy Fitness Program. It allows you to be assessed by a licensed physical therapist for strength, weakness, and functional activities of daily living mechanics and includes a program tailored to meet your individual needs.

Body Awareness Post-Natal Care

pw2 (21K)

Many changes occur to your body while your baby is growing in your belly. Then the baby is delivered at the hospital and you go home 3-5 days later. Attention is shifted to your newborn (and survival), while your body and any aches or pains get pushed aside. The key to being able to take care of your new born and your family is to take care of yourself.

Common Post-Natal conditions that can be treated in physical therapy:
  • Cervical Pain
  • Low and Mid Back pain
  • Sciatica
  • Bladder Dysfunction:
    • Stress Incontinence - urinary leakage with coughing, sneezing, laughing, or lifting.
    • Urge Incontinence - having the urge to urinate immediately with feeling of the inability to control or to hold urine for any length of time.
    • Urinary Frequency - having to urinate frequently either during the day or at night.
  • Post C-Section Rehabilitation - scar restriction that inhibits the ability for abdominal recruitment
  • Episiotomy Scar Pain
  • Painful Intercourse
What the patient can expect:
  • A comprehensive evaluation and written plan of care.
  • Hands on treatment to address pain and dysfunction in order to normalize mechanics.
  • Education in proper body mechanics and postural alignment.
  • Neuromuscular re-education for proper recruitment of the pelvic floor (Kegal's) and abdominal muscles.
  • A home exercise program designed to meet individual needs.
How do I determine if I need physical therapy?

If you answer YES to any of these questions, you may benefit from physical therapy. Ask your physician if treatment by a licensed physical therapist that specializes in women's health is appropriate for you. Don't be afraid to give your OB/GYN a call even after your 6 week check up.

  • Do you have unresolved low back pain, hip pain or sciatica since delivery?
  • Do you have neck pain while breastfeeding?
  • Does your mid/ upper back hurt?
  • Have you lost your awareness or ability to recruit your abdominals?
  • Do you have stress incontinence when coughing, sneezing, lifting, laughing, or exercising?
  • Is your C-Section incision hard, not movable and/or causes pain to touch?
  • Do you feel like your insides are going to fall out when walking or while exercising?
  • Is intercourse painful?
  • Do you have to get up at night frequently to urinate?
  • Are you constipated much of the time?
What if I don't have pain or loss of function, but want to regain awareness of my abdominals/ core again?

If you answer Yes to any of these questions you may benefit from Body Awareness Finding Your Abdominals Again Program

  • Are you unable to perform a Kegal while holding your abdominals in?
  • Do you NOT know if you are performing a Kegal correctly?
  • Have you lost your awareness of your abdominal muscles?
  • Have you lost the ability to recruit your abdominals?