Fewer moments in a woman’s life are more contradictory and challenging than pregnancy; wonderful, empowering and exciting while simultaneously terrifying, overwhelming and exhausting. The physiological and psychological changes can quickly take their toll and rapidly feel all encompassing to the point where the negative aspects can begin to define your pregnancy. Additionally, there will be a steady line of friends, acquaintances and complete strangers who will be desperate to regale you with their own personal horror stories of the months ahead and the punishment you are about to endure. Certainly most of the advice givers are well intentioned, or sadistic monsters – it can be hard to tell after your third straight tale of pregnancy mishaps, but it’s important to know that you are not resigned to a pregnancy filled with misery and pain.
The best preparation
The single most effective strategy to prepare you for childbirth is an appropriate fitness and strengthening regime carried out while putting no undue stress or strain on your body. Irrespective of your level of fitness before pregnancy it’s crucial to give your body the best chance of coping with the additional strains of carrying and nurturing another life. Here at Wolli Creek we have tailored fantastic prenatal and postnatal pilates classes specifically designed to put our clients in the best condition to face both childbirth and the subsequent recovery.
In 2002, the University of Oslo undertook a clinical study to evaluate the benefits of core strengthening during pregnancy. Involving 81 pregnant women, the university undertook a randomized controlled trial and assigned the women randomly to two treatment groups for a twenty-week period, one of which concentrated on core strengthening. The study found that in the group that concentrated on core strengthening the women experienced clinically significant less pain intensity during childbirth. The study monitored the women for one-year post partum and concluded that the women who belonged to the core strengthening focused group recovered far more quickly after childbirth and presented with negligible pain in the months following childbirth compared to the other group.
Look after both body and soul
However, the benefits of exercise and strengthening both pre and postnatal do not just lie in the physical. A joint study between the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada and the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology to determine the best advice to give expectant mothers reviewed every English language medical articles from 1966 – 2002 which covered any aspect of fitness and strength conditioning at all stages of pregnancy. Their conclusion to this mammoth study were that all women should be advised and encouraged to engage in aerobic and strength conditioning exercises due to the physiological benefits but also the psychological benefits inherent in physical activity. We know that physical exercise greatly reduces stress and helps boost our mood and there is no better time than during pregnancy to take control of stress levels. The study also concluded that continued strength conditioning and exercise in the postnatal stage offset many possible conditions including reducing the risk of future urinary incontinence.
More than anything, the knowledge that you are taking action and preparing in the best way possible will do wonders to alleviate your natural anxiety.
At Wolli Creek Physiotherapy & Pilates, you’ll be looked after by highly experienced and passionate young physiotherapists with a range of specialist skills and qualifications. We treat and heal all injuries and pain problems, for all kinds of people.