Actress Viviane Araújo is in her seventh month of pregnancy, but since the beginning she has maintained regular physical exercises. Now, in the final stretch of her pregnancy, she has shown that she is also doing pelvic physical therapy. “Joaquim’s muse mom,” wrote his physical therapist Roberta Paz in the caption of the Instagram post, while Araújo continued with the exercises.
According to Larissa Cassiano, gynecologist and obstetrician, specialized in high-risk pregnancy at USP (University of São Paulo) and columnist for the Live well, physiotherapy for pregnant women works to prepare the body for all the changes that will occur. “Among the possibilities, the technique addresses the pelvic floor at different stages of life, with measures to reduce the possibility of distension and rupture.”
Alexandre Delgado, a physiotherapist and specialist in women’s health, explains that, during pregnancy, the muscles of the abdomen undergo a stretch to accommodate the increase in the uterus during pregnancy, and the ligaments lose part of their voltage, but have an increase in mobility. The changes make it possible for the pelvic floor to carry, at the end of pregnancy, the weight of the fetus, amniotic fluid, placenta and the uterus.
“There are studies that prove that, when a woman undergoes physical therapy during pregnancy, the expulsive time is reduced by 20 minutes and, in addition, she has a 43% lower risk of having a third or fourth degree laceration in the postpartum period. Women who underwent physical therapy are also 29% less likely to have urinary incontinence,” says Laura Della Negra, a physical therapist specializing in pelvic floor rehabilitation at Unifesp (Federal University of São Paulo).
different from pilates
According to Negra, many people confuse Pilates and pelvic physiotherapy, but they do not have the same function. “Pilates works breathing, alignment, posture, among other things, but in a global way. There is an assessment for each patient, but not a pelvic assessment.”
She says that pelvic physiotherapy assesses each patient’s pelvic floor muscles and manages to treat dysfunctions individually. “Although we only hear that the pelvic floor needs to be strengthened, it often needs to work on coordination, relaxation, etc.”, says Negra.
For pregnant women who want to perform pelvic physiotherapy, Delgado points out that an assessment must be made so that the objectives and conduct are outlined.
There is no consensus on when to start physical therapy. But, acting prudently, assistance after the end of the first gestational trimester, that is, after 13 weeks, would be more indicated.