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When To Start Postpartum Physical Therapy?

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Birthing a baby is hard work; after all, they don't call it labor for nothing. The weight of carrying a pregnancy, combined with the strain caused by giving birth, can take a toll on a mother's body. Issues related to painful intercourse, incontinence, discomfort, diastasis recti, and other postpartum issues (related to the health of a woman's pelvic floor) can all benefit from postpartum physical therapy. As a matter of fact, today's medical providers often recommend that all postpartum women visit a physical therapist that specializes in postpartum recovery. Thankfully, you don't have to wait until problems start, but rather you can visit a postpartum physical therapist as soon as you feel ready to do so. As a matter of fact, it is not necessary to wait until your six-week check-up to begin physical therapy. Get a head start on your recovery today with postpartum physical therapy!

What Is Postpartum Physical Therapy and How Does It Work?

Postpartum physical therapy is a form of rehabilitative care that focuses on helping women recover from the physical and emotional effects of childbirth. The goal of postpartum physical therapy is to help mothers reclaim their pre-pregnancy strength, confidence, well-being, endurance, stability, and mobility. Physical therapists who specialize in postpartum care are trained to assess for pelvic floor tensions, alignment issues, muscle imbalances, and any other musculoskeletal concerns that may have arisen during the pregnancy or delivery. These specialists can then create an individualized treatment plan to help address any physical issues associated with childbirth to support a total body recovery.  

What Types of Treatments Are Used as Part of Postpartum Physical Therapy Treatment?

The beauty of postpartum physical therapy treatment is that each patient is accessed as an individual. Only after this assessment is a treatment plan made that specifically addresses the unique issues a given patient is presenting with. Despite this, in general there are many effective treatments that are heavily utilized for women seeking postpartum healing. These include, education, soft/connective tissue mobilization, home exercise plan, ultrasound to check activation of core muscles, neural mobilization, and biofeedback for strengthening or relaxing the pelvic floor muscles depending upon a patient’s needs. Henceforth, no matter your needs, fear not, the right plan will be designed for you, to create lasting recovery!

What Are the Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?

Pelvic floor dysfunction can affect women in several ways and can cause a variety of symptoms. These symptoms may include urinary incontinence (leakage of urine), fecal incontinence (leakage of stool), difficulty with vaginal penetration, and/or pelvic organ prolapse. Additionally, some women may experience lower back pain, abdominal discomfort, tailbone pain, pelvic pain, and/or constipation.

Is Postpartum Physical Therapy Helpful for Patients Who Had C-Sections?

Yes, postpartum physical therapy can be extremely beneficial for women who have had cesarean sections. In addition to the conditions that can arise following a vaginal birth, those who had surgery may experience scarring or adhesions, as well as weakened abdominal muscles due to the incision. Postpartum physical therapy can help restore strength and range of motion while decreasing pain and discomfort associated with the surgery. Thus, regardless of whether you've had a vaginal birth or a C-section, physical therapy is a great way to aide in your recovery.

What Are the Benefits of Postpartum Physical Therapy?

Postpartum physical therapy offers a number of potential benefits for mothers who have recently given birth. It can help restore strength and mobility, while also addressing any musculoskeletal issues that may have arisen during pregnancy or delivery. Additionally, postpartum physical therapy can provide relief from pelvic floor discomfort and pain, as well as back and abdominal pain. Physical therapy is also helpful in restoring proper posture/alignment and improving digestion, sexual function, and incontinence related issues. Not to mention, by taking a proactive approach to your physical well-being, you can ensure that you are on the right track to a healthy recovery and long-term health. This can subsequently reduce stress and improve your mental health. Ultimately, you simply can't go wrong when you choose postpartum physical therapy as part of your comprehensive recovery plan!

Is Postpartum Physical Therapy Beneficial Even If I'm Not Experiencing Any Pelvic Floor Issues?

Yes, regardless of whether or not you are currently experiencing symptoms, it is important to focus on your pelvic floor health following a pregnancy and birth. Ideally, postpartum physical therapy should be started as soon as you are ready, even if you do not have any specific issues or concerns. This can help jumpstart your recovery and ensure that any problems or conditions that may arise in the future are addressed early on. If you have already noticed certain symptoms, such as pelvic floor dysfunction or abdominal pain, it is even more important to begin physical therapy as soon as possible. That way any issues can be addressed promptly, aiding in a faster and smoother recovery.

Does Postpartum Physical Therapy Really Work?

Yes, postpartum physical therapy can be a powerful tool for facilitating recovery and healing after childbirth. A combination of manual therapy techniques, education on self-care, and home exercise programs can help to restore muscle strength, improve posture and alignment, reduce pain and discomfort, minimize leakage of urine or stool, increase pelvic floor strength and tone, enhance sexual function or satisfaction, correct diastasis recti, and more. With the help of a physical therapist specializing in postpartum care, you can get back to feeling like yourself again after childbirth. Remember: pain, incontinence, and other pelvic floor issues are common but are NOT normal. Don't suffer in silence; rather create lasting healing with postpartum physical therapy!

How Can Physical Therapy Benefit Me During My Postpartum Recovery?

Let's face it, the postpartum period can be wrought with sleep deprivation, big emotions, and little to no time for yourself. Despite the very real challenges of this season, remember that if you don't take care of your health, you can't be an effective caregiver for the littlest love of your life. Investing in your recovery with postpartum physical therapy is an investment in your future, well-being, and the well-being of your family. With this in mind, what are you waiting for!? Consider if postpartum physical therapy could be the right choice to assist you in your postpartum recovery and beyond!


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