Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday: The Benefits of Physical Therapy During Pregnancy


While pregnancy is a time of excitement, for some women, the changes in their bodies can also cause pain. If that’s the case, physical therapy may help. 

“I often will see patients with back pain, hip pain that might extend into their buttock, pain in their pubic symphysis, which is just below their belly, or laxity in their joints, especially when they exercise,” noted Meg Driscoll, a physical therapist with Sentara Martha Jefferson. 

Driscoll has been working with Katie Smith, who is eight months pregnant, since halfway through her pregnancy. Smith was referred to PT by her doctor after she started experiencing pain in her pelvic and groin areas.

"I’ve learned strategies to help with simple things like walking, getting in and out of the car, rolling over in bed and putting on pants," noted Smith. 

While it’s impossible to alleviate all pain, there are strengthening strategies and tips learned in physical therapy that can help.

"I educate all of my patients on ways in which they can reduce their pain using SI belts for support, learning how to engage their core, which is their pelvic floor, and lower abdominal muscles, and learning strategies that they can do to decrease their incidences of pain," noted Driscoll.

While the ultimate goal is to improve symptoms, much of what is learned can also benefit patients after their baby is born. “It’s always good to learn how to engage your core, and use it for your exercise, and for your activities of daily living,” noted Driscoll.

“I’ve learned a lot about core strength and posture and I’ve very hopeful that after pregnancy I’ll be able to use these things that I’ve learned to help aid in my recovery,” commented Smith.

If you are interested in learning more, or think physical therapy might be right for you, it’s best to talk with your doctor first. If they agree, they can give you a referral.

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Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday

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