Pregnancy and Postpartum
Pelvic physical therapy is considered standard postnatal care in many countries around the world, where every woman receives care after every pregnancy to assist with her full recovery after the stress on the body of pregnancy and childbirth. Many women can also benefit from pelvic PT during pregnancy.
According to surveys, almost 50 percent of pregnant women experience pelvic, hip, or low back pain during their pregnancy. For some pain becomes debilitating and can even prevent walking. Other common complaints during pregnancy include pain with intercourse, incontinence, constipation, and urinary urgency. Pelvic PT can help reduce or eliminate these symptoms.
Preparing the Pelvic Floor Muscles
The pelvic floor muscles play a key role during childbirth. In order for the baby to pass through effectively, the muscles must relax. Some women have difficulty with coordination of the pelvic floor muscles and actually contract the muscles when they are trying to relax them. Pelvic floor physical therapy can help you learn to gain control over these muscles in order to contract and relax them at the appropriate time. Additionally, biofeedback can be used to help you identify which birthing positions are most helpful for you in completely relaxing your muscles.
Common postpartum complaints include pelvic pain, pain with intercourse, incontinence, urinary urgency/frequency, core weakness, back or hip pain, tailbone/coccyx injury, and pressure or bulging in the vaginal canal.
After your delivery, we will evaluate the following to ensure you fully recover from pregnancy and delivery:
- Tissue healing at the opening and deeper in the pelvic bowl to ensure full recovery
- Strength of pelvic floor muscles to determine if you should be doing ‘Kegels’ or other strengthening exercises
- Strength of core, as well as presence of abdominal muscle separation (diastasis recti)
- Alignment of hips and spine
- Posture when lifting, carrying, and feeding your baby
- Bladder and bowel habits
- Scar tissue and abdominal adhesions for cesarean deliveries