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Prenatal and Postnatal Care

Prenatal Physical Therapist Consultation in Chicago Loop, Lakeview, and Glenview

Prenatal Physical Therapist Consultation in Chicago Loop & Lakeview

Feel strong and energized throughout your pregnancy with a prenatal physical therapist consultation. Your physical therapist will provide strategies to safely maintain your fitness level through all three trimesters and minimize pregnancy-related back and hip pain. 

  • If you are not currently exercising, but want to be active for a healthy pregnancy, your physical therapist will help you get started with a safe and effective exercise program.  
  • If you are a runner or high-intensity athlete or exerciser seeking guidance to maintain a high level of physical activity through all 3 trimesters of pregnancy, your physical therapist will help you learn to listen to your body and monitor for signs that you may be pushing too hard during your workouts.  According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “women who were regular exercisers before pregnancy and who have uncomplicated, healthy pregnancies should be able to engage in high-intensity exercise programs, such as jogging and aerobics, with no adverse effects.”  
  • We also offer prenatal Pilates as a great way to stay active throughout pregnancy. In Pilates, you’ll focus on strengthening your core through breathwork, exercise, and mind-body connection through movement. Schedule a session today with a certified instructor.

A women's health physical therapist can assess how body is moving, plan for changes through all three trimesters and create an appropriate plan to stay active.  You will also learn how to self-assess for diastasis recti and when to modify exercises to avoid stressing the abdominal wall. 

Additionally, if you are experiencing any symptoms of pregnancy such as low back pain, hip pain, or urinary leakage, we can ensure you have the appropriate exercises in your program to alleviate these symptoms.

Prenatal Pilates

Pilates is a great way to stay active throughout pregnancy. In Pilates, you’ll focus on strengthening your core through breathwork, exercise, and mind-body connection through movement. Schedule a session today with certified instructor, Jia Li.

 Prenatal Pilates in Chicago Loop & Lakeview

Prenatal and Postnatal Care

A woman’s body experiences many changes that affect their skeletal system during pregnancy and in the postnatal period. In particular, changes in hormone levels to assist the body with the pregnancy and prepare the body for delivery can contribute to joint laxity, postural changes, and decreased proprioceptive ability, resulting in lower back pain, pelvic issues, sacroiliac dysfunction, sciatica, upper back pain, diastasis recti (abdominal muscle separation) carpal tunnel syndrome, urinary incontinence (involuntary leakage of urine), dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse) and organ prolapse. While pregnancy may be temporary, your physical therapist can help you be as active and comfortable as possible.  

The breathing capacity of a pregnant woman also is compromised as the baby grows bigger and bigger and may lead to a mouth breathing habit and snoring. The specific needs of pregnant women are identified with a detailed physical therapist evaluation.

Back Pain During Pregnancy: Causes, Treatment And Prevention:

Back pain or discomfort is common during pregnancy, with 50 to 70 percent of pregnant women reporting back pain.  Having back pain prior to pregnancy or being overweight increase your risk for experiencing back pain during pregnancy.  Back pain may be experienced at any point during pregnancy; however, it most commonly occurs later in pregnancy as baby grows.

Back pain can disrupt your daily routine or interfere with a good night of sleep.  Your physical therapist can help you manage any back pain that you might experience during pregnancy. 

Common Symptoms: 

  • Low back pain
  • Sciatica
  • Snoring
  • Poor posture
  • Headaches

Available Interventions:

Some Tips to Reduce Back Pain During Pregnancy:

  • Squat instead of bending to pick up objects
  • Avoid high heels and other shoes that do not provide adequate support
  • Avoid sleeping on your back;  sleep on your left side with a pillow between your knees
  • Wear a support belt under your lower abdomen
  • Get plenty of rest and elevate your feet regularly
  • Consult with your physical therapist

Contact Your Obstetric Care Provider Immediately If You Experience: 

  • Severe back pain that could be a symptom of pregnancy-associated osteoporosis, vertebral osteoarthritis, or septic arthritis
  • Increasingly severe or abrupt-onset of back pain
  • Rhythmic cramping pains, which could be a sign of preterm labor

Your Physical Therapist Can Help Alleviate Pain and Increase Stability:

  • Manual Therapy to release tight muscles or joints, including: joint mobilization, trigger point release technique, and deep tissue mobilization technique
  • Posture Retraining to help maintain neutral position for joints and muscles experiencing a changing center of gravity as the pregnancy progresses
  • Breathing Training to maximize oxygenated blood flow throughout the body
  • Myofunctional Therapy to allow the tongue to rest on the palate and function properly if snoring or sleep apnea are present
  • Core activation and strengthening to promote core recruitment despite changes in muscular length and center of gravity
  • Stretching and strengthening of muscles that may be contributing to symptoms

Pre-Pregnancy:

If you are looking to optimize your health before pregnancy, schedule an evaluation of posture, breathing, and core strength.  Identifying and addressing any limitations pre-pregnancy can help strengthen and align your body so that you are as strong and healthy possible before embarking on your pregnancy journey.  Additionally, poor sleep patterns and altered breathing mechanics can impact your developing baby. 

Why Should You Be As Healthy as Possible Before Pregnancy?

Assess your health and habits. Do you snore? Are you a smoker? Do you exercise regularly? Are you overweight? Do you have high blood pressure? Consider embarking on a healthier path before becoming pregnant.

Back Pain During Pregnancy: Causes, Treatment And Prevention:

Back pain or discomfort is common during pregnancy and should be expected to some degree by most women. Back pain may be experienced during any point of your pregnancy; however, it most commonly occurs later in pregnancy as baby grows.

Back pain can disrupt your daily routine or interfere with a good night of sleep.  The good news is there are steps you can take to manage the back pain that you experience

How Might Pregnancy Impact Snoring Tendency?

Chances are that if you snore before pregnancy, snoring will worsen with the weight gain of pregnancy, which may also contribute to sleep apnea which can negatively affect your developing baby.  The specialized physical therapists of PhysioPartners Renaissance CranioFacial Group and teach you simple throat exercises to improve your airway space and reduce snoring.

Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Common in Pregnant Women?

New research suggests that approximately one quarter of pregnant women may experience Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), the recurrent cessation or limitation of normal breathing during sleep. OSA can contribute to daytime fatigue, the development of high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and heart disease.  Unfortunately, OSA is underdiagnosed and frequently untreated in pregnant women.

What is ''Gestational Sleep Apnea" (GSA)?

Gestational Sleep Apnea (GSA) is the proposed diagnosis for describing, diagnosing and treating OSA in pregnant women and parallels the other established transient diagnoses of pregnancy, such as gestational hypertension and gestational diabetes mellitus.

Daytime tiredness is frequently attributed to “just being pregnant” rather than to sleep apnea, and some physicians and patients might consider it too transient to warrant referral to a Sleep-Certified Physician, which usually requires an overnight sleep study for diagnosis (although the recent trend toward home sleep studies may encourage more opportunities for identifying this diagnosis). 

Consider an evaluation with a specialized physical therapist of PhysioPartners Renaissance CranioFacial Group for a comprehensive breathing and airway evaluation.

How Does Snoring and Sleep Disordered Breathing Affect Your Developing Baby?

Snoring may be a sign of sleep apnea, which deprives your brain and body of oxygen and can reasonably be concluded to have a negative effect on a developing fetus. Mouth breathing is also associated with sleep disorder breathing and sleep apnea.  Snoring and sleep disorders are also associated with high blood pressure in pregnant women.

Sleep disordered breathing (SDB), which includes obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS), is emerging as a risk factor for adverse maternal-fetal outcomes in pregnancy. The physiological changes of pregnancy predispose a woman already at risk for developing SDB. The increasing incidence of OSA in pregnancy closely correlates with the population trends of obesity. Common screening tools validated in non-pregnant subjects, including Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) and Berlin Questionnaire (BQ) are poor predictors of SDB in pregnancy. Preeclampsia, gestational hypertension and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) are all linked with SDB. Preeclampsia and OSA share common pathological associations, but it is unclear if having one predisposes one to the development of the other.

Fetal morbidity includes intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), preterm delivery, low birth weight, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission and Apgar score of less than seven at one minute. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a well-documented treatment of SDB in pregnancy and has been shown to decrease risk for some of the adverse events, but diagnosis and treatment is critical. 

What Can I Do About My Snoring Before or During My Pregnancy?

An evaluation of your breathing mechanics, size of tongue and throat airway, position of tongue, overall posture, cervical spine (neck) alignment and joint mobility by the specialized physical therapists of PhysioPartners Renaissance CranioFacial Group will help them determine if manual therapy and postural/breathing re-training, myofunctional therapy and Buteyko Breathing Method can help your snoring.

How Can I Sleep Better During Pregnancy?

Good airflow in the bedroom is best.  Warmer temperatures in the bedroom or home can promote breathing with a larger volume than normal.  Back sleeping is not recommended for several reasons, but it also contributes to the mouth and tongue being more likely to open and fall back into the throat.  Keeping the spine and airway in good alignment can help optimize your breathing during sleep.

Post-Natal Period - The Fourth Trimester:

Your physical therapist also can help you return to your pre-pregnancy strength and shape! Pregnancy and delivery take a toll on your muscles and joints. Your body is continuing to change as you return to your normal activities and meet the demands of baby care! Your physical therapist can assist you with re-education of the muscles of your abdominal wall and pelvic floor, helping you return to your fitness activities and keep up with the bending, lifting, bathing and car-seat carrying!

Your physical therapist will assess your posture, strength and flexibility, and help re-educate weak muscles and establish a program for you to continue independently, as well as mobilize a C-section scar if needed.

What Should I Expect During Post-Natal Physical Therapy?

Following delivery, physical therapist consultation and treatment can promote complete recovery from pregnancy and delivery.  A physical therapist specializing in pelvic floor can assess the pelvic floor musculature to identify weakness or tightness that can contribute to pain or urinary/fecal incontinence, as well as prolapse. 

What Can a Physical Therapist Do for C-section Scar Tissue Tightness?

If you have had a C-Section that has resulted in a thick scar, dry needling can help by releasing the scar tissue with a thin needle.  Releasing the adherence allows it to soften and become less tender.

Common Symptoms:

  • Post pregnancy core weakness
  • Body image concerns
  • C-Section scar restriction
  • Poor posture
  • Painful nursing
  • Plugged ducts and mastitis

Available Interventions:

Virtual Sessions

We are also pleased to offer telehealth services for physical therapy. These appointments are a great way to receive physical therapy from your home, especially right after having a baby when it might be difficult to get out of the house. We would be able to address any women’s health concerns you have virtually and offer strategies to ensure that you are moving well at home while taking on the many new tasks of childcare. You can schedule this appointment at any time postpartum and we will develop a session that meets you where you are at.

If you are having any issues with nursing, your baby is having difficulty latching on the breast and nipple, or your baby's mouth is held in an open position while awake or sleeping, consider consultation with the specialized physical therapists of PhysioPartners Renaissance CranioFacial Group.

Case Report, (Michelle C, patient):

Michelle is a 34 year-old female who sustained multiple injuries when younger, leading to chronic pain. Previous hip surgery, arthroscopic knee surgery, and a neck injury, also complicated by being hypermobile, led her to seek physical therapist care at different clinics over the years. However, she achieved the highest level of relief after receiving care from the specialized physical therapists of PhysioPartners Renaissance CranioFacial Group.

Her treatment plan during pregnancy consisted of optimizing pelvic and hip alignment that was causing her to be unbalanced while walking.  Postural retraining was provided for the areas affected by her growing belly, including her lower back, neck and upper body, as well as improving overall strength and stabilization. She also received training in proper tongue posture and breathing mechanics. Michelle made it through a successful pregnancy and attributes her successful pregnancy to the full body treatment she received at PhysioPartners.

Please call (773) 665-9950 for more information or schedule an onsite or virtual appointment.

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