Physical Therapy During Pregnancy

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Pregnancy is an exciting time, full of anticipation and change. Your growing midsection is a constant reminder of the precious new life you carry, and your maternal hormones are amped up to the max. In the past it was thought that pregnancy was a “delicate condition,” and that nesting mamas should avoid physical exertion at all costs. But we now know that physical activity can be good for both mom and baby.

Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

There are many benefits to exercising during pregnancy, and they far outweigh the risks of being sedentary.

  • Increase blood flow, nutrients and oxygen to the baby
  • Reduce your risk of hypertension and gestational diabetes
  • Promote healthy digestion and reduce constipation
  • Reduce stress to your low back and pelvis
  • Improve your mood and self-esteem
  • Promote healthy sleep
  • Improve your posture
  • Prepare for labor and delivery
  • Accelerate postpartum recovery

Physical Therapy for Pregnant Women

Despite the benefits of exercise, there are always risks with physical activity, and overdoing it can lead to problems. A carefully designed pregnancy exercise program
can reduce your risk of injury while helping you prepare for the next stage of your childbirth journey. A physical therapist who specializes in women’s health can design an exercise routine that takes into account your stage of pregnancy and your individual needs.

In addition to traditional exercises for stretching and strengthening, your physical therapist is uniquely qualified to provide pelvic floor physical therapy. A healthy pelvic floor increases your changes for a successful full-term delivery with minimal risk of tearing or complications. Moreover, a strong and functional pelvic floor helps you recover more quickly after childbirth, so you can enjoy new motherhood to the fullest.

Reduce Your Risk of Diastasis Recti

One undesirable consequence of pregnancy is the risk of diastasis recti abdominis (DRA), a separation down the middle of your “six-pack” from stretching that does not always resolve itself. Not only can DRA be cosmetically disfiguring, but it can lead to other health problems, including:

  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Incontinence
  • Back and pelvic pain
  • Pelvic instability
  • Postural problems

A well-designed physical therapy exercise program can strengthen the muscles of your abdomen and pelvis, and reduce your risk of DRA. If diastasis does develop, your physical therapist can help you manage it during pregnancy and resolve it after delivery.

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Pregnancy Physical Therapy in NYC

Whether you were already active before you got pregnant or you are an exercise novice, the women’s health specialists at NYDNR can help you make the most of your exercise sessions while keeping you and your baby safe and healthy. Once the baby is born, postpartum care will ensure that your body recovers fully, with minimal complications.

Don’t wait until after your baby is born to get your body back in shape. If you are planning to become pregnant, a physical therapist can help you get ready. If you are already pregnant, your therapist can design exercises to help you look and feel your best throughout your pregnancy. And if your baby is already born, physical therapy can help you recover thoroughly, so you can get back to your active lifestyle as a healthy new mom.

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In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)

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Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)

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Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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