The following is the second part of our three-part series that explains how physical therapy can be so beneficial to expecting mothers at all stages of their pregnancy. In the first section, we explored 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 endure throughout your pregnancy. In this second section, we explore how physical therapy can help expecting mothers as they go through more changes during the middle of their pregnancy.
PT During Your Second Trimester
Welcome to the second trimester of your pregnancy! Your body will continue to experience numerous changes as your baby develops inside the womb, and physical therapy can help support your body as it goes through these changes. Here’s a look at some of the ways physical therapy can be helpful during the second trimester.
- Sciatic Nerve Relief – As your body continues to grow and adapt to your developing baby, it’s not uncommon for your sciatic nerve to become compressed or irritated. Your sciatic nerve begins in your lower back before splitting and running down each leg. Due to weight gain and postural changes that occur during the second trimester, you may compress this nerve somewhere along its path. The second trimester is the most common time when women begin to experience sciatic nerve discomfort, and physical therapy can work wonders at helping you find relief. We can help to adjust your posture or set you up with some flexibility and movement exercises to promote healthy structural movement so that the nerve doesn’t become irritated when sitting, standing or moving. Prenatal sciatic nerve issues are one of the most common reasons that pregnant women connect with a physical therapist.
- Pelvic Floor Issues – You may also begin to experience some more pelvic-floor related issues during your second trimester. Urinary incontinence and other bladder issues become more common as your growing baby and your changing body puts more pressure on your pelvic floor muscles. Your physical therapist can set you up with some individualized strength training exercises to help improve the overall health of your pelvic floor muscles.
- Weight Gain – Weight gain is normal and expected during the second trimester, but as we mentioned in the first part of this series, you want to gain weight on a healthy trajectory. You’ll undergo your gestational diabetes testing during your second trimester, so having a healthy diet and getting regular exercise can help reduce your risk of gestational diabetes. Your physical therapist can help develop a safe exercise program given your current state and walk you through some diet tips if you are experiencing cravings or certain foods are causing nausea and vomiting.
- Back Pain – Back pain is the most common symptom that women experience during the course of their pregnancy, as upwards of 70 percent of women experience uncomfortable back pain at some point. Back pain can be the result of a number of factors, like weight gain, posture changes or ligament rigidity due to hormonal changes, but if you work with a physical therapist, they can develop a stretching and strengthening routine and help correct your posture so that back pain doesn’t make your pregnancy any more uncomfortable.
For more information about the benefits of physical therapy during your second 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 final trimester of your pregnancy.
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