From the minute you get pregnant, it seems like every person you meet has some life-changing advice to share. But there are a few less-than-wonderful things about being a mom that gets the old hush-hush treatment. Sandi Walker, a physical therapist at Baptist Health Madisonville, shares these lesser-known side effects of motherhood.
“Prepare your body for pregnancy prior to conception,” Walker recommended. Establishing good exercise and fitness habits in preparation for pregnancy can make a big difference when it comes to dealing with the postural challenges and demands of pregnancy and motherhood. “The abdomen and pelvic floor are the two mains areas of focus, but a total-body strength-training along with cardiovascular training offers benefits to both mom and baby,” Walker said.
Be aware of your changing body and strive to practice good posture before, during, and after delivery, Walker said. “Understand the importance of using the large muscles in your legs versus those in the low back for lifting.”
Immediately following delivery, perform pelvic floor contractions, commonly known as Kegel exercises, to increase tone and support pelvic musculature. “Often, during pregnancy, these muscles are stretched and weakened,” Walker said. “Strengthening them gives women a strong, stable base from which to work and move.” Because many symptoms of urinary incontinence are caused by a lack of muscle control in the lower pelvic area, physical therapy can help to strengthen weak areas and restore control of the bladder.