How Physio can help support early development

Physiotherapy has traditionally been viewed as rehabilitation associated with injury and recovery. In Spring Forward, we view Physiotherapy as a skill set that can analyze movement and develop strategies to help our clients understand their own bodies and be able to achieve their highest potential. This can start at any age and, yes, even with babies.

As discussed in article 5 Reasons why your child could benefit from Physiotherapy learning starts with movement, but movement is also the catalyst for how our cells develop. When you are around 8 weeks pregnant, your baby starts moving. This occurs before you even start to feel movement (approx. 16-22 weeks). But why all this movement when your baby is getting everything it needs from your womb? Research shows that these movements have a role to play in cell development i.e. hiccups help cells to develop lung tissue and eye movements help retinal cell development.

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There are also what we call general movements, which are automatic movements that start to develop around 9-10 weeks. These movements help muscle tone, nerves, and bone structure develop in utero. These general movements can be seen up to the first 5-7 months of a baby’s life. Observing the quality of these movements can even tell us how a baby is doing developmentally. While general movements are not triggered by sensory input (i.e. touch or vestibular input) because they are automatic, they can be influenced by sensory input to achieve the quality of movement needed to be successful in development.

Spring Forward’s Physiotherapy team uses this knowledge to assess where your baby is in terms of their neuro development. Our team uses the information gathered through observation to develop a tailored program that’s easy to implement at home. We aim to empower parents to feel confident in supporting their baby’s development and follow this progress with regular checkups when needed. This way parents can feel secure that their baby is getting exactly what they need to reach their full developmental potential.

Roxanne Jason


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