If it seems as if you cannot go to the grocery store without seeing a double stroller or admiring twins in matching car seats, you are correct. Recent statistics reflect the increase in twin births, as the increasing age of mothers and the use of infertility medicine has resulted in the need for those double strollers and matching car seats. Unfortunately, many expectant mothers of twins find that in order to give their bundles of joy the best start in life, spending time on bed rest becomes necessary. If that happens, muscle atrophy and weakness will often occur. If you are on bed rest now, suspect that it is in your near future or have recently given birth after extended bed rest, it is a good idea to be aware of your options and need for physical therapy.
Preventing The Need For Extensive Physical Therapy
It is important to note that in some instances, you may not need to wait until you give birth to start your physical therapy. Although you should always speak with your health care provider before making any modifications to your recommended bed rest, there are a number of exercises that many pregnant women on bed rest for an extended period of time can benefit from without compromising the health of their babies.
Common examples include the use of a one or two-pound weight to do lift and release. Even if you only do a few repetitions each day, you might be able to minimize the muscle atrophy that could prove to be problematic in a few months when you are lifting and toting your babies around at all hours of the day. The same is also true of bands that can be secured to the bed and pulled, then released.
Your physician and physical therapist may be able to work together to form a plan for your physical therapy, both before and after your babies are born. Given that nearly 20% pregnant women in the United States spend at least part of their pregnancy on bed rest, you will find that you are not alone in your need for help regaining your strength and abilities after a tough pregnancy.
Physical Therapy After Your Babies Are Born
If even mild and gentle physical therapy was not feasible during your pregnancy or if you were never made aware that it was an option, you can still work to improve your muscle strength. Given that it can take as little as four days on mandated inactivity for your muscles to lose mass and strength. Range of motion exercises are often recommended and adding the use of weights over time can also be helpful.
If your muscle loss and deterioration is significant enough to require regular physical therapy, it is a good idea to find a physical therapist that specializes in or has extensive experience with women's health. Attempting to go forward with your new daily activities without allowing your body to adequately recover can result in new injuries, chronic pain, and even incontinence. Some common exercises your physical therapist may recommend include those aimed at rebuilding your core, such as Kegel's for specific time periods and addressing the issue of chronic pain with pelvic tilts or bracing your abdomen.
In conclusion, twins can double your love and joy, but a pregnancy with them can be quite difficult. If extended bed rest becomes necessary, muscle weakness often follows and therefore, physical therapy is often recommended to allow you to be the mom your babies deserve.