Pregnancy is a time of both great excitement and uncertainty for many women, as their bodies grow and change, and they prepare for motherhood and the challenges that lie ahead. Every pregnancy is different, just as every woman is different, and the physical issues that arise are many and varied.
At Beyond we have multiple health services that cater for and address pregnancy-related issues, including osteopathy, myotherapy, remedial massage, clinical pilates, exercise physiology and podiatry.
Back and Pelvic Pain
The number one reason that pregnant women present to our clinic is pelvic or back pain. It usually arises in the middle of the pregnancy as the back and pelvis have to adapt to carry the increased load of a growing baby, but it can occur earlier, especially in women with a previous history of back pain. Osteopathic treatment can be effective for reducing pain and promoting optimal alignment of the pelvis and spine, and osteopaths can also give advice regarding exercises and the use of braces or belts to aid instability. Regular myotherapy or remedial massage can be a great way to reduce pain and muscle tension, and can also promote fluid flow to reduce swelling, especially around the legs and ankles, a common pregnancy complaint!
A common complaint amongst women post-birth is back and neck pain, which usually arises from the sudden demands of carrying and feeding a newborn. Osteopathic treatment can reduce the severity of pain and stiffness experienced, and can help the body adapt to this very demanding time! Myotherapy and massage are also great ways to prevent the buildup of tension through the neck and shoulders, and we have many new and repeat mums who make it a priority to come regularly while their bodies are adjusting.
You might not think that pregnancy has anything to do with the feet, but they can actually undergo significant changes during pregnancy. As the ligaments of the pelvis relax and stretch to prepare for birth, so too do all the ligaments in the body, including the feet. This can mean that the feet spread and sag, leading to pain and problems with biomechanics. Swelling of the feet and legs due to fluid accumulation can be problematic, as can foot care for women with other conditions such as diabetes- it’s hard to reach those feet with a big belly in the way! Podiatry can be an essential part of pregnancy care for affected women, whether it be for simple footwear advice, strapping or skin and nail care.
Preventative Care and Rehabilitation
Many women choose to come to Beyond to undertake Clinical Pilates, either to continue rehab for a pre-existing condition, or to maintain core strength and pelvic control, which are greatly challenged during pregnancy. Clinical Pilates is a gentle, targeted form of exercise that works very well in pregnancy, because the exercises can be adapted as the pregnancy advances, and each patient has their own program, meaning that it can be tailored perfectly to this special time. Clinical pilates is also commonly sought out by women having problems with their pelvic floor post-birth, eg incontinence, who wish to reduce symptoms and regain strength and control for the next pregnancy.
As the body undergoes many changes during the special journey of pregnancy and into post-natal care, incorporating regular exercise has been proven to deliver numerous benefits for the health of both mother and baby. Clinically appropriate strength and aerobic exercise helps alleviate lower back and pelvic pain, reduce fatigue and tiredness, and minimize the risk of gestational diabetes and labour complications.
At Beyond, each exercise program is tailored by experienced Exercise Physiologists as the pregnancy progresses – taking into account women’s exercise and medical history – in preparation for the many wonderful yet challenging requirements of motherhood. Whether it’s in a group or one-on-one format, exercise can get you moving beyond and into a healthy start to your newborn’s life.
At Beyond, we love being part of the pregnancy journey, and we all work together to ensure the best outcomes for our patients. So if you’re expecting, a new mum, an experienced mum, or planning a pregnancy, we’ve got you covered!