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Aches and pains during and after pregnancy

by Randy Shannon

According to a recent study, at least 20 percent of women experience back pain during pregnancy and 30-50 percent of these women report it is severe enough to avoid social activities or stay home from work. Aches and pains during pregnancy and postpartum are not normal, although they are common.

Unfortunately, only 15-30 percent of women with back pain during pregnancy report receiving treatment. The good news is that treatment is available. 

As a physical therapist, I treat patients with pain everyday. I am passionate about treating women throughout their lifespan, but especially during pregnancy and postpartum. Women have very different bodies during these phases of life and additional stressors limit their ability to take time to care for themselves. My focus is to make sure they take care of themselves and eliminate their pain, which allows them to return to normal activities and enjoy their pregnancy and new baby without pain. 

There are many conditions that a physical therapist can treat during pregnancy including: neck and back pain, headaches, joint pain, separation of abdominal muscles that leads to back and pelvic pain, c-section scar management, generalized weakness and muscle pain.

Many of these conditions are due to changes in posture, body mechanics (including new activities such as carrying a heavy car seat, carrying the baby, breastfeeding) and activity level. These changes are all treatable, and symptoms can be relieved and prevented with physical therapy. It is important to treat these symptoms early, as women who have pain during pregnancy and women who experience pain during pregnancy are more likely to experience pain postpartum. 

If you feel you or someone you know would benefit from physical therapy during pregnancy or in the postpartum period, contact your OB-GYN or call Mercy Oakwood Rehabilitation Services for more information at (920) 236-1850. 

Jenna Lemberger, DTP, Mercy Medical Center