Physiotherapy in pregnancy can promote healing and holistic fitness. It is a helpful approach in dealing with the pain resulting from an increase in relaxing through the means of specific exercises and massages. The targeted exercises not only help in reducing pain but also maintain the strength of muscles.
Take a seat
If you’ve always been the one who looks after everyone else, it’s important to make sure that you are being taken care of by your family and close friends in pregnancy.
Varicose veins (which occur when blood collects in the veins which causes swelling and discomfort – most often in the legs and feet) can be uncomfortable. Take the opportunity to have a sit down if you need to – this will also help you to avoid swollen ankles.
Try to avoid lifting heavy items and try to minimise the risk of injuring yourself by bending your knees, not your back.
- Helps you to cope with changes to your posture and strains on your joints during pregnancy.
- Helps you to stay a healthy weight, although it’s normal to put on some weight during pregnancy.
- Helps to protect you against pregnancy complications, such as high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.
- Increases your chance of a straightforward labour and birth.
- Makes it easier for you to get back into shape after your baby is born.
- Boosts your mood if you’re feeling low.
Aim to eat a healthy, balanced diet whenever you can. This means having:
- At least five portions of fruit and vegetables daily. Fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juice all count. Choose fruit in its own juice or water, rather than a sugary syrup and avoid vegetables tinned in salt water.
- Starchy foods (carbohydrates), such as potatoes, bread, pasta and rice. These should make up just over one third of all the food you eat. Choose wholegrain varieties rather than white, so you get plenty of fibre. Leave the skin on potatoes as it makes them more nutritious for you and your baby.
- Daily servings of protein, such as fish, lean meat, eggs, beans, nuts or pulses.
- Dairy foods, such as milk, cheese and yoghurt.
- Two portions of fish a week, at least one of which should be oily, such as salmon, sardines or mackerel.
Fish is full of protein, vitamin D, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for the development of your baby’s nervous system.
If you don’t like fish, you can get omega-3 fatty acids from other foods, such as nuts, seeds, soya products and green leafy vegetables such as spinach and Brussels sprouts.
You don’t need to eat for two when you’re pregnant. In fact, you don’t need any extra calories for the first six months of pregnancy. In the last three months, you’ll only need another 200 calories a day.
Stay well hydrated too. You need more water now that you’re pregnant, to produce extra blood and amniotic fluid. Drinking plenty helps to prevent constipation and tiredness too. Try to have about eight glasses of fluid each day. The healthiest way to stay hydrated is by drinking water, but there are other options to boost your daily fluid intake such as fruit teas and skimmed or semi-skimmed milk and fresh fruit juice. Cut down on caffeine and avoid alcohol and smoking as these can all have adverse effect on the foetus.
Take a supplement
It’s important for you and your growing baby to take folic acid and vitamin D supplements. You’ll need to take these even if you eat a healthy and balanced diet.
You need to take folic acid while you’re trying for a baby and for the first three months of pregnancy.
Taking folic acid reduces the risk of your baby developing a neural tube defect such as spina bifida. Some women need to take a higher dose of 5mg per day. You may be offered a higher dose if you have diabetes, or if you’ve had a previous pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect. Check with your GP or midwife what the best dose is for you.
You also need a daily supplement of 10mcg of vitamin D throughout your pregnancy and beyond. Vitamin D helps your baby’s bones and teeth to develop.
Begin doing pelvic floor exercises
Your pelvic floor is a wide sling of muscles at the base of your pelvis. These muscles support your bladder, vagina and back passage. They may feel weaker than usual in pregnancy because of the extra pressure on them. Pregnancy hormones can also cause your pelvic floor muscles to soften and slacken slightly.
Weak pelvic floor muscles can increase the risk of developing stress incontinence. This is when you leak urine when you sneeze, laugh or exercise.
You can strengthen your muscles by doing pelvic floor exercises, or kegels, regularly throughout your pregnancy. You’ll feel the benefit if you can build up to 10 long squeezes of 10 seconds, followed by 10 short squeezes, three times a day.
We can help you during your pregnancy with Physiotherapy including treatment methods to :
- Relieve your lower back and pelvic pain
- Help relieve pain by regular pregnancy massage
- Strengthen your pelvic floor muscles
- Advise you how to manage postural changes during pregnancy
- Give you a suitable exercise programme to keep up your fitness levels
To find out how Home Physio Group can help you in your pregnancy journey and any women’s health physio questions you may have, please call 0330 335 1016, or alternatively, please fill in the contact form and we will get back to you.