Pregnancy is a wonderful thing, but as most women who have had children can tell you, it can really wreak havoc on the body.  The experience also varies significantly from one woman to another. While some women report having easy pregnancy and labor, some women have an extremely difficult time.  This is very relevant for us in Nigeria, because culturally, women tend to feel pressured to keep quiet about their symptoms. Many women are also not educated in what is normal/abnormal and are not aware of treatment options.  Pregnancy can be an amazing, life-changing experience, but it comes with several physical and emotional/psychological changes. The inevitable change in the center of gravity, pressure on the organs, and general body weight increase as well as the change in hormone levels. Physically, this commonly leads to back/neck pain, pelvic pain, urinary incontinence and more.

One common myth is that exercise is not good for expectant mothers.  In general, unless your doctor advises you otherwise for medical reasons, exercise is great for both the mind and body in expectant and new mothers. Physiotherapists are exercise and movement experts who can be of tremendous help for many of the symptoms that accompany these physiological changes pre and post pregnancy. Symptoms such as:


  1. Low back pain/Sciatica
  2. Pelvic and Hip pain
  3. Neck pain or postural imbalance
  4. Urinary incontinence
  5. Sexual dysfunction
  6. Extreme fatigue
  7. Swelling of hands or legs
  8. Carpal tunnel syndrome


  1. Stress and Urge incontinence
  2. Low back pain/pelvic pain
  3. Upper back and Neck pain
  4. Diastasis Recti (Abdominal separation)
  5. Excessive weight gain
  6. Painful intercourse


How Can Physiotherapy Help?

After a thorough assessment, an individualized treatment plan will be developed putting in consideration the client’s specific needs/complaints as well as medical conditions. Simply put, there is no standard treatment for all. Treatment will take different forms to suit individual needs, but will likely include:

  1. Exercises to strengthen or relax the pelvic floor muscles
  2. Manual therapy
  3. Exercises to strengthen weak limbs muscles
  4. Stretches and other techniques to reduce tension in tight muscles
  5. Advice regarding activities
  6. Advice about healthy bladder and bowel habits
  7. Provision of supports/braces for hyper-mobile joints
  8. Tools to relive pain (TENs)

There are precautions and contraindications to some of the exercises at different stages of pregnancy so make sure you are guided by a professional for safety.  As no two patients are the same, so are no two pregnancies, and it’s important to remember that it’s your right to look for assistance to make you as comfortable as possible throughout and after this period. At PCA, our experienced physiotherapists will design a specific program for you to “live well and live fully”.

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