Postpartum Physical Therapy Screening
While giving birth is perfectly natural, it’s also a very challenging experience for your body. The growing abdomen has stretched your abdominal muscles and put a lot of pressure on your pelvic floor muscles. Joint stability suffers during pregnancy, as does musculoskeletal function. In addition, the pelvis needs time and often help to regain its original strength and muscle tone.
Unfortunately, many women do not pursue postpartum rehabilitation because they are too busy with the new baby – and also because many doctors don’t stress the importance of helping a woman’s body regain its strength and function after childbirth. Without addressing those issues, a woman’s body might be left vulnerable to issues with urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, pain with intercourse and hip, lower back or pelvis pain.
Not every woman experiences the same postpartum issues, so it is important to discuss potential problems with a knowledgeable professional.
Common Postpartum Complaints
- Pelvic pain: Pelvic pain can take many forms after childbirth, including pain during intercourse, pain when urinating or defecating, or pain at rest. Pelvic pain can become chronic if left untreated.
- Urinary incontinence: Urinary problems are common after delivery. Not every woman experiences them to the same degree, but many will have a sudden urge to urinate or leak urine when exercising or sneezing.
- Perineal pain: Perineal (area between the vagina and anus) pain is especially common among women who had an episiotomy or tearing during their birth. Some women also need help healing the scars from cesarean section.
- Fecal incontinence: Many women have trouble controlling bowel movements after having a baby.
- Pelvic organ prolapse: The uterus can slip of place because of pressure on weak pelvic floor muscles during the birth.
- Separation of the abdominal muscles: The growing baby puts pressure on the abdominal muscles. They stretch out and sometimes separate during pregnancy. Get a consultation if you notice any bulging of your tummy.
Whether you are suffering from pain, feel weak or are experiencing other pelvic issues, the help of a physical therapist can be invaluable.
What to Expect After Giving Birth
After the initial consultation, Dr. Grace will determine the best course of treatment. Because your body might be sore and weak during the postpartum period, treatment will be adapted to fit your capabilities. The main goal during postpartum physical therapy is often to regain pelvic floor muscle tone and avoid future urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse. Others may be working on resuming intercourse without pain or getting their abdominal muscles back in shape.
Kegel exercises are likely to be an important part of your treatment plan. Unfortunately, many women are told by the doctors to do Kegel exercises but not taught the correct way to do them.Studies show studies 50% of people do them incorrectly! As a result, they might not be seeing any results and end up giving up. A pelvic floor therapist can teach you how to do Kegels correctly and in a way that provides the right amount of challenge to your body so that you see results from your efforts.
In addition, Dr. Grace might suggest that you try biofeedback. Biofeedback is an effective tool to help you understand how your pelvic muscles work so you can retrain them.
If you recently had a baby and are now dealing with pain or need help with your pelvic health in North Carolina, make an appointment today to discuss treatment.