Changes in the Body Before and After Childbirth and Possible Symptoms
Various changes occur in the body during pregnancy. For some, symptoms like pelvic and lower back pain may start appearing from the early stages of pregnancy. Many people tend to think, “I have to endure it until I give birth because I’m pregnant” or “It’s natural to have urinary incontinence after childbirth.” I hope to spread the knowledge that there are methods to improve and prevent such conditions.
During pregnancy, there is a significant shift in hormone balance to nurture the fetus, leading to loosening of ligaments and muscles throughout the body. This can influence the alignment (posture, pelvis, thorax) of the pelvis and spine, potentially leading to the aforementioned symptoms. The growing fetus can also cause symptoms like constipation, heartburn, and indigestion by pressing against internal organs. After childbirth, holding and breastfeeding the baby for long hours can cause ailments like shoulder pain and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Symptoms like urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse might necessitate examining the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles, similar to a hammock situated at the base of the pelvis, play a vital role in supporting internal pelvic organs and controlling the urethra, vaginal opening, and anus. Stretching or weakening of these muscles during and after pregnancy might lead to the symptoms mentioned above. Also, perineal tears or caesarean scars, often overlooked after childbirth, are crucial in improving these symptoms. You might have heard of “Kegel exercises” (pelvic floor exercises), but just strengthening the pelvic floor muscles might not alleviate the symptoms. This is because these muscles work in tandem with the diaphragm (essential for breathing) and abdominal muscles, ensuring body functionality and stability.
As physical therapists, we evaluate alignment, muscle function, and daily life movements based on the anatomical, physiological, and kinesiological changes before and after childbirth to alleviate symptoms. We often get questions like, “Should I wear a pelvic belt?” or “What kind of exercises should I do?” and we cater to each individual based on careful evaluation. At FuncPhysio, we help alleviate fears by providing insights into the changes that occur before and after childbirth, offering support for pain and other concerns.