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Benefits of Physical Therapy During Pregnancy

Benefits of Physical Therapy During Pregnancy


Pregnancy is a time of profound transformation, bringing about an increase in weight, shifts in hormone levels, and considerable stress on the body. The growing baby puts extra pressure on the mother’s musculoskeletal system, leading to changes in posture, and abdominal muscle separation, and potentially impacting her quality of life. Physical therapy during pregnancy, especially pelvic floor therapy, emerges as a pivotal solution to manage these changes, helping expectant mothers enjoy a more comfortable pregnancy by addressing muscle tone, and joint pain, and maintaining physical fitness.

Why Physical Therapy During Pregnancy is Important

The importance of physical therapy during pregnancy cannot be overstated. It offers a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses various musculoskeletal conditions such as hip pain, joint mobility issues, and muscle spasms that often accompany pregnancy.

A study highlights the underutilization of physical therapy among pregnant women, with only 42% of 375 participants attending physical therapy sessions. Even more striking is the fact that a mere 14% had been referred for antenatal exercises, underscoring the need for greater awareness and integration of physical therapy during pregnancy to support maternal health and well-being.

Physical therapy aids in managing pain during pregnancy enhances energy levels, and contributes to a healthier gestational weight gain by promoting physical activities and exercises tailored for pregnancy. Strengthening the core and abdominal muscles not only supports the additional weight but also prepares the body for the postpartum period, improving recovery time and reducing the risk of complications like urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

Understanding Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

Pelvic floor physical therapy for pregnancy specifically targets the pelvic muscles, which face significant strain during pregnancy and vaginal deliveries. This therapy focuses on improving muscle strength, tone, and endurance to support the uterus, bladder, and bowels. By incorporating exercises that enhance core stability, expectant mothers can prevent or mitigate issues like incompetent cervix and ruptured membranes, which are critical for avoiding premature labor and ensuring a healthy term pregnancy.

The Benefits of Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy During Pregnancy

The Benefits of Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy During Pregnancy

Engaging in pelvic floor physical therapy during pregnancy, including core strengthening exercises, helps manage weight gain and supports the pelvic floor’s health. Maintaining a strong and healthy pelvic floor during pregnancy period is crucial for a variety of reasons.

Strengthening Pelvic Muscles

Engaging in pelvic floor physical therapy and core strengthening exercises helps in managing weight gain, reducing the burden on the pelvic muscles, and mitigating risks of muscle weakness and abdominal muscle separation.

Alleviating Pain and Discomfort

A well-structured physical therapy program includes manual treatment techniques and exercises that alleviate muscle tightness, joint pain, and hip pain, making daily activities more manageable and improving overall comfort.

Preparing for Childbirth

Strength training and pelvic exercises increase muscle tone and elasticity, preparing the body for the strain of childbirth. This preparation is crucial for women aiming for vaginal deliveries, as it helps in reducing labor duration and minimizing the chances of post-delivery complications.

Enhanced Well-being

Physical therapy during pregnancy positively impacts mental health by reducing stress, managing hormone levels, and maintaining a high energy level. It contributes to a significant improvement in the quality of life, allowing for a more enjoyable and comfortable pregnancy.

Postpartum Recovery

The benefits of pelvic floor physical therapy during pregnancy extend into the postpartum period, where exercises tailored for recovery help in quickly regaining strength, managing additional weight, and reducing the incidence of urinary incontinence and muscle weakness. Healthcare providers often recommend continuing pelvic floor exercises in the months postpartum to ensure a complete recovery.

What to Expect During a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Session

Expectant mothers will undergo an assessment to determine specific needs, followed by a combination of strength training, core stability exercises, and manual therapy. Therapists might also advise on safe exercise during pregnancy, focusing on maintaining joint mobility and managing blood pressure through tailored physical activities. This holistic approach ensures both the safety of the mother and the fetus during the current pregnancy.

Postpartum Pelvic Floor Exercises and Rehabilitation

Research sheds light on the prevalence of physical therapy use among women during and after pregnancy. It was found that 13% of pregnant participants and 27% of those in the postpartum period had engaged in physical therapy. This indicates a significant opportunity to expand access to and education about pelvic floor physical therapy for pregnancy and postpartum recovery, emphasizing its critical role in enhancing maternal health.

Postpartum Pelvic Floor Exercises

Continuing pelvic floor exercises after delivery is crucial for recovery. Kegels, squats, and bridges are essential for strengthening the pelvic muscles, supporting the body’s return to pre-pregnancy conditions, and enhancing the mother’s ability to engage in daily activities without discomfort.


These exercises are crucial for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, aiding recovery, and preventing incontinence.


Squats enhance pelvic health by improving the strength and endurance of the pelvic floor and lower body muscles.


This exercise targets the lower back and pelvic floor muscles, promoting core and pelvic stability.

Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation During Pregnancy

Throughout the pregnancy, engaging in pelvic floor muscle training and core stability exercises helps in managing the extra pressure on the pelvic area. Pregnancy-specific yoga and perineal massage can also play a significant role in preparing the body for childbirth, reducing the risk of muscle spasms and tightness, and improving the overall pregnancy experience.

Pelvic Floor Muscle Training

This training strengthens pelvic floor muscles, crucial for preventing or reducing pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms.

Pregnancy Yoga and Perineal Massage

Yoga improves flexibility and reduces stress, while perineal massage prepares the pelvic area for childbirth, minimizing the risk of tears.

Precautions and Safety Measures for Physical Therapy During Pregnancy

Precautions and Safety Measures for Physical Therapy During Pregnancy

While physical therapy offers numerous benefits, it’s essential to consult with healthcare providers before starting any new exercise program. Special attention should be given to avoiding high-impact activities that may contribute to gestational weight gain beyond the recommended levels, ensuring exercises are performed correctly to avoid injury, and monitoring blood pressure to prevent any adverse effects.

Visit Freedom Physical Therapy and Wellness

At Freedom Physical Therapy and Wellness, we understand the unique challenges of pregnancy and postpartum. Our team specializes in prenatal and postnatal care, offering a personalized exercise program that addresses the specific needs of expectant and new mothers, ensuring a safe, healthy, and comfortable journey through pregnancy and beyond. This dedication makes us a trusted provider of physical therapy in Elkhart for mothers navigating the transformative stages of pregnancy and postpartum recovery.


Physical therapy during pregnancy is a game-changer for expectant mothers, addressing physical changes, managing pain, and preparing the body for childbirth and postpartum recovery. With the guidance of experienced therapists, women can navigate the challenges of pregnancy with confidence, ensuring both their well-being and that of their baby.


Can you go to physical therapy while pregnant?

Absolutely. With a treatment plan designed by healthcare providers, physical therapy is safe and beneficial throughout pregnancy, addressing muscle tone, and joint pain, and promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Is it safe to do physiotherapy during pregnancy?

Yes, when supervised by professionals experienced in prenatal care, physiotherapy during pregnancy is safe and effective in managing pain, enhancing physical fitness, and preparing the body for childbirth and recovery.

When should I start physical therapy during pregnancy?

It’s advisable to start as early as possible. Early engagement in physical therapy offers the best chance to manage the physical demands of pregnancy, maintain a healthy weight gain, and ensure a smoother postpartum recovery.

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Dr. John DeVries

Freedom Physical Therapy and Wellness

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