Back to home May 2013
Pregnancy Doesn’t Have to Be Painful
The months of pregnancy bring many changes to a woman’s body. This exciting time often is uncomfortable—as hormones increase and the body shifts to accommodate the growing baby, but it shouldn’t be painful.
“People assume that some level of pain is normal with pregnancy, but it doesn’t have to be,” explains Janna Trottier, physical therapist. “Many people believe that discomfort is caused by weight gain, but that is a misconception. It is actually the surge of hormones that cause ligaments to soften, and back pain, or sciatic nerve pain can occur. Extreme pain and/or the inability to walk, sit or engage in your daily routine are not normal, but physical therapy can help.”
Janna says physical therapy—which is done one-on-one and led by a specially trained, female physical therapist—provides education, movement modifications, Pilates-based core and postural exercises, and gentle hands-on stretching techniques.
“Women are 60-75 percent physiologically ready to have the baby at 12 weeks, so we can see women that early in the pregnancy and provide relief,” she says. “It usually takes about six visits, but we can make significant—60-80 percent— improvement in symptoms in two or three sessions. We always keep the moms- to-be on the schedule for the remainder of the pregnancy, in case we need to add more sessions.”
In the six years that Janna has done this type of therapy, she has noticed that women can be more susceptible to pain after their first pregnancy. “When women are pregnant for the first time, they usually have more time to rest and relax at the end of the day,” she says. “But, for second—or subsequent—pregnancies, you have to be ‘mom’, so you are lifting, bending, twisting and putting yourself more at risk.”
Shelly Chvotzkin, M.D., obstetrician and gynecologist, refers her pregnant patients to therapy. “I leave surgery and medications—especially narcotics—as last resort measures,” she says. “If my patients are open to it and willing to work at it, physical therapy is very successful.”
Because many physicians don’t want to prescribe medications and many moms- to-be don’t want to take medications during pregnancy, physical therapy is a safe and effective way to get the relief they need to continue daily routines without extreme and/or debilitating pain.
Rehabilitation therapies also are available after the baby is born—whether months or years later—to help with back, groin or pelvic pain and incontinence. If you feel that you could benefit from this form of therapy, speak to your doctor and ask for a referral to women’s rehabilitation.
- Riverwalk Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation
- 8350 Riverwalk Park Boulevard, Suite 3
- Fort Myers, FL 33919
- Lee Center for Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation
- 609 SE 13th Court
- Cape Coral, FL 33990
- Outpatient Center at the Sanctuary
- 8960 Colonial Center Drive
- Fort Myers, FL 33905
To make an appointment at any of these locations, call 239-424-1499.
“When women are pregnant for the first time, they usually have more time to rest and relax at the end of the day,” Janna Trottier says. “It usually takes about six visits, but we can make significant—60-80 percent— improvement in symptoms in two or three sessions. We always keep the moms- to-be on the schedule for the remainder of the pregnancy, in case we need to add more sessions.”
Physical Therapy for Pregnancy