Pregnancy significantly affects the normal daily function. A woman’s body undergoes physical and hormonal changes before and after delivery and the discomfort associated with pregnancy has been accepted as a nomal part of the process. Today, many physicians recommend physical therapy to relieve the discomfort experienced by pregnant women and help prepare the pregnant body for an easier delivery and recovery process.
Physiotherapist plays an important role in the antenatal care of pregnant women and their preparation for labour, birth and parenting.
They educate women about:
v The principles of back care
v The need for good posture
v Appropriate sitting and standing postures during pregnancy.
v Relaxation positions
Medical research looking at the effect of exercise on maternal and fetal health shows active women are better shape than their sedentary counter parts. They are
o Aerobically fit
o Gain less weight from fat
o They run no greater risk of miscarriage
Research shows that during delivery, fit women tend to have more stamina and shorter, less complicated labor. The active women can continue with their exercises providing there is no adverse history and improve fitness of the body than their sedentary pregnant mothers.
The potential benefits of exercise in pregnancy are
o Maintains cardio-vascular fitness
o Improves Posture
o Decreases physical problems
o Strengthens specific muscles in preparation for pregnancy and labour
o Maintains muscle length and flexibility
o Increases endurance and stamina
o Assists post-natal recovery
Note: Exercises should be performed strictly under supervision of physiotherapist based on medical recommendation.
The frequency and the intensity of the exercise should be strictly followed as per the exercise regimen designed by the therapist.
There are relative and absolute contraindications, which will be carefully ruled out by therapist. The therapist who has all the details necessary for assessment carefully designs antenatal assessment chart and the follow up chart is maintained to have a track over the improvement in reducing the discomforts of pregnancy.