Returning You to a Healthy, Active Lifestyle
Pregnancy/Prepartum Physical Therapy
Pelvic floor PT during pregnancy can treat any pregnancy pain or discomfort as well as optimize delivery and prevent perineal tearing and other postpartum dysfunctions.
Common Prepartum Symptoms:
- Urinary incontinence: Incidences of stress urinary incontinence during pregnancy have been reported to range from 20% to 70%
- Low back pain. Studies have shown the 40% to 60% of women will experience back pain during pregnancy and as many as 25% experience temporarily disabling pain.
- Neck pain and headaches due to changes in posture
- Tightness and pain in the legs due to the flattening of the feet
- Arm pain or tingling caused by nerve compression associated with an increased chest diameter
- Hip, SI, Tailbone pain
- Pelvic girdle pain: Research surrounding the impact of pregnancy and delivery on the pelvic floor provides a snapshot of the issue: During pregnancy 45% of pregnant women experience pelvic girdle pain.
Other prepartum issues PT addresses:
- Perineal massage and partner training for perineal massage. Perineal massage is the practice of massaging a pregnant woman’s perineum around the vagina in preparation for childbirth. The intention is to prevent tearing of the perineum during birth or to prevent the need for an episiotomy or tearing during an instrument (forceps or vacuum extraction) delivery.
- Preparation of pelvic floor muscles for childbirth. The pelvic floor muscles and core stabilizing muscles are intimately involved in the childbirth process. These muscles function at their maximum potential when they are lengthened, strengthened, and free of myofascial trigger points. Impaired muscles are not always symptomatic. A physical therapist can individually examine each muscle internally and externally. If impairments are found the physical therapist can treat the problems with manual therapy and exercise resulting in improved function. In addition, treatment will increase the potential for successful vaginal deliveries with less pelvic floor muscle injury and postpartum pain and dysfunction.
Postpartum Physical Therapy
It is beneficial for all new moms to have their pelvic floor evaluated by a physical therapist after they’ve been cleared to resume sex and exercise. This kind of early intervention can help address any concerns, and ultimately enable new moms to return to functional and active lives while possibly preventing future pelvic floor dysfunction.
Common postpartum symptoms:
- Urinary incontinence: After delivery 35% of new moms experience stress urinary incontinence in the postpartum period. Women with urinary incontinence leak urine when they sneeze, cough, or run. Some women feel a frequent or sudden, urge to urinate, even when their bladder isn’t full. Others are unable to start the flow of urine at will or empty their bladder completely when urinating.
- Diastasis rectus abdominis: More than 50% of women have a separation of their abdominal muscles (diastasis rectus abdominis) after pregnancy. It is a leading cause of low back pain, stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.
- Bowel incontinence: Many postpartum women have difficulty controlling gas or bowel movements.
- Perineal pain: This symptom is common in postpartum women, especially those who tore during childbirth or are recovering from an episiotomy. (The perineum is the area of skin between the vagina and the anus.) In addition, tight pelvic floor muscles cause some to experience persistent perineal pain, even after their wound heals.
- Pelvic pain: Some women have pain during sex for many months or even years after childbirth. And some have chronic vulvar pain, burning or itching. Others have pain during bowel movements. These symptoms are often caused by tight pelvic floor muscles, which can lead to inflamed tissue and nerves. This is not normal! There should be no pain after 6 weeks.
- Pelvic organ prolapse: When pregnancy and childbirth weaken the pelvic floor muscles the uterus, bladder, and/or bowel can slip out of place. Rehabilitating these muscles can help prevent or improve this condition.
- Pelvic floor muscle injury: 20% of first-time moms show severe pelvic floor muscle injury after a normal pregnancy/delivery. 25% of women with pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy remain in pain after delivery.
- Blocked milk ducts: A condition where a blockage in a milk duct results in poor or insufficient drainage of the duct. When milk builds up behind the blockage, the concentration of pressure in the duct may lead to local discomfort in the breast, or a lump may form. If the blockage is not cleared after 24-48 hours, or if flu-like symptoms develop or deterioration is present, the mum should consult a doctor, as blocked ducts can lead to mastitis.
Call if you have any questions and to schedule an appointment at 912-335-9747