During pregnancy, there is an increase in elasticity of connective tissues, ligaments, tendons, and fascia. With an expanding uterus and added weight on the front of the body’s frame, posture and alignment changes. Pregnant women may experience pain in the joints of the pelvis, spine, hips, back, headaches, and numbness in the extremities. Weak abdominals result in pain during moving and lifting. During the postpartum period, hormone levels fluctuate causing musculoskeletal issues such as excessive joint mobility, weakness of core stabilizers, and altered spinal mobility and function.
Therapists work to help pregnant women who may be more prone to injury by providing guidance on ways that they can modify everyday activities through proper biomechanics. Physical therapy can also help to reduce pain and muscle spasms, and restore alignment of the body. Prenatal and postnatal therapies include: massage, joint mobilization, stretching, and baby and mommy exercises.