By Dr. Lydia Huck and Dr. Amy Newberry at Pelvic Prescription Physical Therapy & Wellness
Why would I need postpartum physical therapy?
Postpartum pelvic floor therapy is a type of physical therapy that focuses on healing the pelvic floor muscles after delivery. The pelvic floor muscles are the group of muscles at the base of your pelvic bones. They control urination, defecation, sex, and childbirth. These muscles are often weakened or damaged during pregnancy and childbirth, which can lead to urinary and bowel leakage, pelvic pain, pain during intercourse, prolapse or pelvic pressure, and other issues.
Can I just do Kegels?
Nope! Just practicing Kegels could actually make your symptoms worse. Treatment includes exercises and techniques to lengthen and strengthen the muscles to improve the function of the pelvic floor muscles. This can include stretches, diaphragmatic breathing, strengthening exercises, abdominal exercises, or massage. We also focus on how to properly engage and relax these muscles during daily activities such as lifting, coughing, and sneezing so you can be leak-free and pain-free.
I had a cesarean delivery. Would I benefit from postpartum pelvic floor therapy?
Mamas after a vaginal OR cesarean birth may both experience symptoms. Common symptoms that indicate dysfunction of the pelvic floor include urinary or bowel leakage, urinary or bowel urgency, difficulty emptying the bladder or bowels, pain during or after intercourse, pelvic organ prolapse or pelvic heaviness, c-section pain or c-section “shelf,” diastasis recti or abdominal separation, or pain in the hip, pubic bone, SI joint, and tailbone.
Overall, the goal of postpartum pelvic floor therapy is to improve your quality of life by reducing or eliminating symptoms and helping you regain control over your body and pelvic floor muscles. We want to help you feel like yourself and more confident participating in all the things you love to do again without worry and fear. You CAN get back to running, jumping, lifting, and more!
When should I start pelvic floor therapy?
Starting pelvic floor therapy during your pregnancy can actually help you strengthen your body, improving your stamina for birth and preparing your body to heal faster postpartum. Your Doctor of Physical Therapy will also teach you how to lengthen the pelvic floor muscles to prepare your muscles for delivery. You will learn what to do in the weeks leading up to birth to correctly prepare your muscles, practice labor and delivery positions, and learn proper pushing techniques to reduce the risk of tearing. You also will get a preview of what to expect in the first 4-6 weeks postpartum to optimize your healing before your first pelvic floor therapy postpartum check-up.