A Guide to Pre and Postnatal Care
A woman’s body goes through a multitude of changes during her childbearing years. Luckily, we live in a time where there are lots of resources and support available to assist in all these transitions. Often there is uncertainty, however, as to the who, what, when and why we should receive certain treatments and if it’s safe to do so.
Today we hope to answer some of these questions and provide you with some guidance on how our team can help you through the stages of pregnancy, as well as postpartum care.
Pregnant woman can receive massages during all stages of pregnancy, including the first trimester and right up until, and even past, their due date.
During the first trimester, not much is likely going to change from your regular massage routine. However, it is important to tell your massage therapist (and all other practitioners you are seeing) that you are pregnant so they can assess and treat accordingly. Although some women do not feel much different during this time, there are considerations that need to be taken into account.
As the pregnancy progresses, and the mom’s body starts changing more, it’s a good idea to start planning for a regular massage treatment. This usually starts out as every 4 weeks, but as the baby grows, appointments can become more frequent to help manage different symptoms such as back and hip discomforts, swelling in the legs, or numbness in the hands. We often see women on a weekly basis in the last month of pregnancy. Even if you’re not experiencing many discomforts, relaxation is important prior to going into labour. For more on prenatal massage, click here.
Postpartum massage treatments can start as soon as the new mom feels ready and is highly encouraged to help manage any stress, trauma from birth, as well as postural challenges that come with carrying and breast feeding a baby. More information on postnatal massage can be found here.
Pelvic Health and Orthopedic Physiotherapy are an essential part of proactive pregnancy and postpartum care. Lower back, hip, and pelvis pain are common in pregnancy, and there are many other symptoms that can occur with a growing baby and changing body. Physiotherapy can offer exercises, hands on treatments, and supports like SI belts and belly bands to help you feel more comfortable.
Prenatal pelvic health physiotherapy appointments are valuable to assess pelvic floor muscle strength, learn exercises, relaxation, breathing and self-massage techniques to optimize labour and delivery. Ideally this visit will be in the second or third trimester. After your 6 week checkup postpartum (once you have gotten the OK from your doctor or midwife), pelvic floor physiotherapy can help with the recovery of pelvic floor muscles, core muscles, any pain, bladder, bowel, or sexual concerns, and management of tears, stitches, and scar tissue. We can also help you with your return to activity, and give you appropriate guidelines on return to sport or exercise.
Whether you had a c-section or vaginal delivery, pelvic floor physiotherapy can optimize your function and help heal your body post baby. And, it’s never too late. Whether your child is 3 months old or 30 years old, if you have ongoing concerns with upper or lower back, hips, pelvis, or abdominal area – physiotherapy can help! There are various ways to help restore your core, relieve tension and optimize function and return to activity. Check out Pelvic Health 101 for more details.
A Naturopathic Doctor can assist in all stages of child-bearing, even before conception.
Pre-Conception support for the mother and father can include nutritional guidelines, detoxification and acupuncture for fertility support. Here’s more details from Dr. Erika on Preconception Nutrition.
During pregnancy, drug-free support can be provided for nausea/morning sickness, fatigue, sciatica, hypertension, gastrointestinal concerns, heartburn, yeast infections, headaches, insomnia, leg cramps/restless leg syndrome, varicose veins and gestational diabetes.
Post-Delivery support can include herbal lactation support, herbal topical remedies for post-labour tissue healing, complementary care for post-partum depression, fatigue and exhaustion support. Naturopathic pediatric care is also available.
As you can see, our team of health care professionals has you covered for every stage of your child-bearing experience! Contact us today if you have any questions or want to book an appointment.
Written by Kristi Easton, Kristie Norquay and Dr. Erika Buckley-Strobel