Physiotherapy during pregnancy title

Fit for Two: How Physiotherapy During Pregnancy Can Help You Stay Active

Congratulations! You’re embarking on the incredible journey of pregnancy. This exciting time brings a whirlwind of emotions, preparations, and of course, physical changes. As your body adapts to nurture new life, staying active becomes even more important. But with a growing bump and potential aches and pains, navigating exercise during pregnancy can feel daunting.

This is where physiotherapy during pregnancy steps in as your partner in a healthy and active pregnancy. Physiotherapists are movement specialists who can guide you through safe and effective exercises, alleviate pregnancy-related discomforts, and prepare you for a smooth delivery.

Physiotherapy during pregnancy stay active

Why Stay Active During Pregnancy?

Staying active throughout pregnancy isn’t just about maintaining a healthy weight. Regular exercise offers a multitude of benefits for both you and your baby:

  • Improved mood and reduced stress: Exercise releases endorphins, natural mood elevators that combat pregnancy blues and anxiety.
  • Increased energy levels: Regular physical activity can boost your stamina and help you cope with fatigue, a common complaint during pregnancy.
  • Reduced back pain and other discomforts: Physiotherapists can design an exercise program that strengthens core muscles, improves posture, and alleviates common pregnancy aches and pains like back pain, sciatica, and pelvic girdle pain.
  • Improved sleep: Exercise can help you fall asleep faster and experience better quality sleep, crucial for overall well-being during pregnancy.
  • Reduced risk of gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia: Regular physical activity can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of pregnancy-related complications.
  • Easier delivery: Strong core muscles and improved flexibility can contribute to a smoother and more efficient delivery.
  • Faster postnatal recovery: Staying active during pregnancy can help you regain your pre-pregnancy fitness level more quickly after childbirth.
Physiotherapy during pregnancy how physio can help

How Can Physiotherapy During Pregnancy Help You Stay Active?

A physiotherapist will conduct a thorough assessment to understand your individual needs, fitness level, and any pre-existing medical conditions. Based on this assessment, they will create a personalized exercise program that includes:

  • Safe and effective exercises: Physiotherapists are experts in designing exercises suitable for each trimester, considering your changing body and capabilities. They can modify existing exercise routines or suggest safe activities like swimming, walking, or prenatal yoga.
  • Pelvic floor muscle training: Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles is crucial for bladder control, supporting your growing uterus, and preparing for childbirth. Physiotherapists can guide you with specific exercises like Kegels to strengthen these important muscles.
  • Posture correction: Physiotherapists can help you maintain good posture throughout pregnancy, alleviating back pain and discomfort. They can provide exercises and techniques to improve your alignment and reduce stress on your joints.
  • Manual therapy techniques: Techniques like massage and joint mobilization can help manage muscle tension and pain. Physiotherapists are trained in applying these techniques safely and effectively during pregnancy.
  • Education and guidance: Physiotherapists can educate you on how to listen to your body, identify signs of overexertion, and modify your exercise routine as needed. They can also provide guidance on proper form and technique to prevent injuries.

Staying Active Throughout Your Pregnancy Journey:

First Trimester:

During the first trimester, focus on low-impact exercises you enjoyed before pregnancy. Walking, swimming, prenatal yoga, and modified strength training are great options. Listen to your body and rest when needed. Morning sickness is a common complaint during this trimester, so adjust your exercise routine accordingly. Don’t push yourself too hard, and prioritize activities that make you feel good.

Second Trimester:

This trimester often brings a surge in energy. Continue your existing exercise routine and explore options like prenatal Pilates or aqua aerobics. Physiotherapists can help you adjust your exercises as your body changes. As your belly grows, certain exercises may become uncomfortable. Focus on exercises that don’t strain your abdominal muscles and prioritize activities that allow for modifications.

Third Trimester:

As your belly grows, certain exercises may become uncomfortable. Modify your routine with activities like prenatal yoga or light swimming. Physiotherapists can guide you with exercises to manage back pain, prepare for childbirth, and improve your pelvic floor strength. Activities like walking and light cardio can also be beneficial in the third trimester.

Physiotherapy during pregnancy benefits beyond exercise

Benefits Beyond Exercise:

Physiotherapy during pregnancy offers several additional benefits for a healthy pregnancy journey:

  • Pain Management: Physiotherapists can utilize manual therapy techniques like massage and mobilization to manage common pregnancy pains like back pain, sciatica, and pelvic girdle pain. These techniques can help improve blood flow, reduce muscle tension, and promote healing.
  • Improved Balance and Stability: As your center of gravity shifts with a growing baby, physiotherapy can help improve your balance and stability, reducing the risk of falls. Exercises that target core muscles and improve proprioception (your body’s awareness of its position in space) are crucial in this aspect
  • Posture Education: Good posture throughout pregnancy is crucial for managing back pain and preventing other discomforts. Physiotherapists can provide guidance on maintaining proper posture during everyday activities like sitting, standing, and sleeping. They can also recommend ergonomic modifications to your workspace to minimize strain on your body.
  • Preparation for Delivery: Physiotherapists can guide you with breathing exercises and relaxation techniques for a more comfortable and manageable childbirth experience. Learning proper breathing techniques can help you manage pain during labor and delivery, while relaxation techniques can reduce anxiety and promote a calmer birthing experience.
  • Postnatal Recovery: Physiotherapy can also play a vital role in your postnatal recovery. Exercises can help strengthen your core muscles, which can be weakened during pregnancy and childbirth. Physiotherapists can also address any lingering pregnancy-related aches and pains, such as back pain or pelvic floor dysfunction. Additionally, they can guide you with exercises to improve pelvic floor strength, which is crucial for bladder control and overall pelvic health.

Specific Conditions Addressed by Physiotherapy During Pregnancy:

  • Low Back Pain: Low back pain is a common complaint during pregnancy due to the changing center of gravity and increased strain on the lower back muscles. Physiotherapists can design a program to strengthen core muscles, improve flexibility, and address postural imbalances that contribute to back pain. Manual therapy techniques can also provide relief from pain and muscle tension.
  • Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP): PGP is a condition that causes pain in the joints around your pelvis. Physiotherapists can help manage PGP through specific exercises, manual therapy techniques, and lifestyle modifications like using supportive belts or pillows.
  • Diastasis Recti: Diastasis recti is the separation of the abdominal muscles that occurs during pregnancy. Physiotherapists can guide you with exercises to strengthen your core muscles and help close the gap between the abdominal muscles.
  • Urinary Incontinence: Leakage of urine is a common issue during pregnancy due to the pressure of the growing baby on the bladder. Physiotherapists can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which play a vital role in urinary control.
Physiotherapy during pregnancy fitness levels

Considerations for Different Fitness Levels:

Pregnant women with different fitness levels can benefit from physiotherapy in various ways:

  • For Beginners: If you weren’t very active before pregnancy, physiotherapy can help you establish a safe and effective exercise routine. Physiotherapists can start you with gentle exercises and gradually progress the intensity as your fitness improves.
  • For Experienced Athletes: If you were active before pregnancy, physiotherapy can help you modify your existing routine to accommodate your changing body. They can also suggest alternative exercises that maintain your fitness level while minimizing risks.

Safety Considerations During Exercise:

Here are some safety tips to keep in mind when exercising during pregnancy:

  • Listen to your body: Don’t push yourself too hard. Take breaks when needed and stop if you experience any pain.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after exercise.
  • Warm-up and cool-down: Proper warm-up and cool-down routines are essential to prevent injuries.
  • Wear supportive clothing: Wear comfortable, breathable clothing that provides adequate support.
  • Avoid exercises that lie flat on your back: This position can restrict blood flow to the baby, especially in the later stages of pregnancy.
  • Modify exercises as needed: Don’t hesitate to modify exercises that become uncomfortable as your pregnancy progresses. Physiotherapists can guide you with safe modifications.
  • Consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program: It’s important to get your doctor’s approval before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.
Physiotherapy during pregnancy professional athletes

Professional Athletes and Pregnancy

For professional athletes, pregnancy presents a unique challenge. They need to navigate the physical changes and potential limitations of pregnancy while maintaining their competitive edge and complying with team schedules. Physiotherapists can play a crucial role in supporting professional athletes throughout their pregnancy journey.

Working with Clubs:

Open communication between athletes, clubs, and physiotherapists is essential. Physiotherapists can collaborate with athletic trainers and team doctors to:

  • Develop individualized training plans: Modify existing training programs to accommodate the changing needs of the athlete’s body.
  • Address pregnancy-related discomforts: Utilize manual therapy techniques and exercises to manage aches and pains associated with pregnancy.
  • Monitor progress and adjust training intensity: Closely monitor the athlete’s progress and adjust the training program as needed to ensure safety and optimal performance.
  • Educate coaches and support staff: Physiotherapists can educate coaches and support staff about the physical changes and limitations associated with pregnancy in athletes. This fosters a supportive environment that prioritizes the athlete’s well-being.

Considerations by Sport:

High-Contact Sports (Football, Rugby): Due to the high risk of injury, high-contact sports typically require a complete or significant pause in training during pregnancy. Physiotherapy can focus on maintaining fitness levels through low-impact activities like swimming or stationary cycling. Additionally, physiotherapists can help athletes prepare for the postnatal period by developing core strengthening exercises and addressing any lingering pregnancy-related discomforts.

Endurance Sports (Running, Cycling): Endurance athletes can often continue training during pregnancy with modifications. Physiotherapists can help adjust training intensity, duration, and terrain to accommodate the changing body. They can also focus on strengthening core muscles and improving pelvic floor health, crucial for runners and cyclists.

Racquet Sports (Tennis, Badminton): Racquet sports can be continued with modifications during pregnancy. Physiotherapists can help with exercises to maintain agility, balance, and upper body strength while minimizing strain on the lower back. As the pregnancy progresses, modifications like shorter rallies or avoiding overhead serves may be necessary.

Considerations for Individual Needs:

It’s important to remember that every athlete and pregnancy is unique. A professional athlete with a history of uncomplicated pregnancies may be able to continue training at a higher intensity than a first-time athlete experiencing morning sickness and fatigue. Physiotherapists will tailor their approach to the individual athlete’s needs, fitness level, and sport-specific demands.

Physiotherapy during pregnancy conclusion


Staying active during pregnancy is vital for your physical and mental well-being. Physiotherapists become your partners in achieving a healthy and active pregnancy. With their guidance and expertise, you can navigate exercise safely and effectively, manage discomforts, prepare for a smooth delivery, and embark on a journey towards a happy start to parenthood. Remember, “Fit for Two” isn’t just a saying – it’s a philosophy for a healthy you and your developing baby. By incorporating physiotherapy into your pregnancy journey, you can empower yourself to move with confidence and embrace the incredible changes your body is undergoing.

If you’re pregnant and would like a consultation, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re there for you in Goa and online as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I consult a physiotherapist for pregnancy exercises?

You can consult a physiotherapist at any stage of pregnancy, even before you conceive. Here are some ideal times to seek their guidance:
Pre-pregnancy: Discussing exercise plans and potential pregnancy-related discomforts you might anticipate.
First Trimester: Establishing a safe and effective exercise routine that considers morning sickness and other early pregnancy symptoms.
Second Trimester: As your energy levels increase, refining your exercise program and learning modifications for your growing belly.
Third Trimester: Managing back pain, preparing for childbirth, and focusing on pelvic floor strengthening exercises.
Postpartum Recovery: Regaining your pre-pregnancy fitness level and addressing any lingering pregnancy-related aches and pains.

Can I continue my regular exercise routine during pregnancy?

It depends! While some exercises might be perfectly safe to continue with modifications, others might need to be adjusted or replaced entirely. A physiotherapist can assess your existing routine and suggest safe alternatives suitable for each trimester. They can also help you modify exercises to accommodate your changing body and comfort level.

What if I experience pain while exercising during pregnancy?

If you experience any pain while exercising during pregnancy, stop the activity immediately and consult your physiotherapist. They can help identify the cause of the pain and adjust your program accordingly. Pain is a sign your body might be reaching its limit, and pushing through it could lead to injuries.

Is it safe to get a massage during pregnancy?

Yes, getting a massage during pregnancy can be safe and beneficial, but with a qualified professional. Physiotherapists are trained in prenatal massage techniques that cater to your changing body and can help manage muscle tension and improve circulation.

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