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Physical Therapy for Expectant Mothers

80% of Americans will experience lower back pain in their life, but women have an increased risk of lower back pain. One explanation for the increased risk in women is pregnancy.

Light skinned pregnant black woman sitting on the edge of bed with hands on back looking pained

The occurrence of low back pain is greatly increased during pregnancy due to to the increased weight carried at the front of the spine for 9 months. Often times, the pain goes away after the baby is born, but 1 in 3 women continue to have back pain during the first post-partum year. Did you know that physical therapy can help treat low back pain during pregnancy and after pregnancy?

PT is a proven treatment for low back pain and sciatica that are often associated with pregnancy. Physical therapists can help to improve posture, learn correct exercises to perform to take pressure off the spine, and learn what to avoid during episodes of pain.

Specific treatments may include:

  • Information for posture correction

  • Stretching

  • Core strengthening

  • Manual therapy, such as soft tissue mobilization

  • Activity modification

  • Heat or ice

With all of the treatments out there for low back pain, specifically during pregnancy, it may be difficult to determine the right treatment for you. A women's health or pelvic floor physical therapist has special advanced training in pre- and post-natal health care and will be able to assess your specific condition and determine the best course of treatment for you.

A study published in 2014 in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy examined what treatments are most effective for pregnant women experiencing low back pain. The researchers compared treatments including exercise, bracing, manual therapy, and a combination treatment approach, and found that the most effective treatment for low back pain during pregnancy is a combination of exercise, manual therapy, and education about activity modification.

Everyone is different and everyone responds differently to various treatment approaches. It is important to work closely with your doctor and physical therapist to ensure that you are getting the best care for your back pain and specific condition.

It is natural to be a little anxious if you are expecting a baby, and low back pain can definitely add an extra level of stress. If you are pregnant and experiencing lower back pain, a visit to your physical therapist may be in order. He or she can assess your specific situation, prescribe exercises to decrease your pain, and recommend temporary lifestyle changes that can help decrease your pain and improve your mobility during your pregnancy.

If you or a loved one is in pain, we'd love to help. The women's pelvic floor team at FlexPlus Physical Therapy can reduce your pain and help prepare you for an easier birth and post-natal journey! Give us a call at

to set up an initial evaluation. Not sure if physical therapy is right for you? Ask us for a free consultation! At FlexPlus Physical Therapy, we're with you every step of the way.

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