The following is a three-part series that explains how physical therapy can be so beneficial to expecting mothers at all stages of their pregnancy. In this first section, we’ll explore how physical therapy can help prepare you for what’s to come and ensure that you’re ready for all the physical changes your body will ensure throughout your pregnancy. Below, we explore the benefits of physical therapy during your first trimester.
Physical Therapy During Your First Trimester
Although the physical effects of a pregnancy will not be as pronounced in the first trimester as they are in later stages, it can still be extremely helpful to work with a physical therapist throughout your first trimester. Here’s a look at a number of ways they can assist in the beginning stages of your pregnancy.
- Exercise And Aerobic Conditioning – Exercise is great for everyone, including expecting mothers. Not only can exercise help to improve healthy circulation, but it can also help to improve your aerobic conditioning. Shortness of breath later on in pregnancy or during labor can leave you feeling winded and fatigued, so working to improve your breathing strength during the earlier stages of pregnancy is oftentimes extremely helpful. Your physical therapist can help develop an exercise or movement program tailored to you.
- Posture – Again, you’ll face greater posture-related issues later on in your pregnancy, but you’ll still experience some major bodily changes during the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy, and these changes can have a major impact on your posture. Your belly and breasts will get larger as more hormones become present in your body, and that will certainly shift your normal posture positioning. Your abdominal muscles can also weaken as your belly grows, and since your core plays a key part in stabilizing and supporting your spine, a weaker core can easily lead to poor posture. Your PT can help to strengthen key muscle groups and ensure you have healthy posture habits in spite of your changing body.
- Foot Health – You may also notice some changes in your feet as your body adapts to being pregnant. Ligaments can become looser during pregnancy, and that can lead to a flattening of the foot arch and changes to how your feet disperse stress. Also, since you’ll gain weight during your pregnancy, your feet will be tasked with handling more stress, and that can lead to pain, swelling and general discomfort. Your physical therapist can work to strengthen your feet and your ankles, or we can help you find the right orthopedic shoe insert to ensure stress is dispersed evenly across your feet.
- Pelvic Health – Finally, a physical therapist can help improve your pelvic health to give you more control over your bladder and bowel movements. The more work you put in now, the easier it will be to stay in control of your pelvic floor muscles as the baby develops and more pressure is put on the area. You’re unlikely to have incontinence issues in the first 12 weeks, but strengthening these muscles before they experience more strain as your baby develops will make it easier for them to function properly later in your pregnancy. Connect with a PT sooner rather than later to ensure optimal pelvic floor health.
For more information about the benefits of physical therapy during your first trimester, or to talk to a physical therapist about setting up an appointment, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today at (612) 339-2041, and be sure to come back to our blog to learn how physical therapy can also be helpful during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.