Legacy Physical Therapy 2961 Dougherty Ferry Road Saint Louis, MO 63122
Call: 636-225-3649 Fax: 888-494-7074 Email: info@legacytherapystl.com

Prenatal & Postpartum Care

Pregnancy, childbirth and childcare are all events that result in significant physical changes and new stresses on a woman’s body. The therapists at Legacy Physical Therapy are specifically trained to meet the special obstetric needs of women. Our services are available and appropriate for all prenatal and postpartum women. Our clinic is geared towards preventive health and is capable of providing rehabilitation in the event of pre/postpartum musculoskeletal problems.

Legacy Physical Therapy’s Women’s Health Program includes specialty treatment of: 

 

 

Prenatal Services

Pregnant women may suffer from pain or aching in the back, shoulder blades, rib cage, groin area, or wrists. As a result, these women are not only more susceptible to injury during pregnancy, but related orthopedic problems may persist or begin following pregnancy.

Our prenatal services help women achieve maximum pelvic floor and musculoskeletal function to optimize delivery and prevent perineal tearing and other postpartum dysfunctions. Due to the changes in a woman’s body during a healthy pregnancy, women may experience pain and discomfort and physical therapy can help.

Common Prenatal Complaints:

  • Low Back Pain. Studies have shown the 40-60% 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
  • Sciatic, hip, sacral, pubic symphysis and tailbone pain
  • Urine leakage due to strained pelvic muscles

How Physical Therapy Can Help:

For each area of concern, a physical therapist can evaluate the problem and design an individualized program of care to improve your function and enable you to manage your symptoms more effectively.

Typical interventions may include:

  • Exercises to stretch tight muscles, strengthen weakened ones, and/or improve posture
  • Massage or soft-tissue techniques to increase circulation, relieve pain, or improve tissue mobility
  • Joint mobilization to allow movement at the joints and to relieve pain
  • Fitting of therapeutic supports and belts
  • Suggestions for appropriate body mechanics, stress reduction, and energy-saving tips for home and work

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, prevent the need for an episiotomy or tearing during an instrument (forceps or vacuum extraction) delivery. Randomized clinical trials of perineal massage have shown its effectiveness in reducing tears.

 

 

High-Risk Pregnancy

For a women in a high-risk pregnancy, bed rest is often necessary. In fact, 20 percent of all pregnant women in the United States are placed on bed rest for at least a week. For those women on prolonged bed rest, whether at home or in the hospital, several problems may result, including:

  • joint pain
  • stress
  • altered circulation
  • decreased endurance
  • decreased strength

How Physical Therapy Can Help:

A physical therapist can design an individualized program of care to enable you to more effectively manage the problems of prolonged bed rest during pregnancy.

A suggested program may include:

  • Gentle range of motion exercises to avoid joint pain and stiffness and to reduce the risk of blood clots in the legs
  • Relaxation training to help cope with the stresses of isolation, boredom, and worry about pregnancy outcome, as well as the physical stress of long-term bed rest
  • Proper bed positioning to increase comfort and prevent joint problems
  • A rehabilitation program to increase your strength and endurance after the baby is born

 

 

Postpartum Services

After childbirth, women should have a follow up with a physical therapist in order to get back on a proper exercise and stretching program. Physical therapists can identify any existing impairments and to help restore muscle integrity that can otherwise lead to dysfunction and pain. All women experience significant changes in their bodies during and after pregnancy. To help women achieve their maximum potential to care for their new baby and prevent further complications we offer postpartum physical therapy.

Unfortunately the stresses of pregnancy, vaginal deliveries, and C-sections may lead to myofascial complications following the birth of the baby. Many women suffer is silence or their concerns are dismissed by good-intending physicians because ‘they just had a baby’. Many of these symptoms can be easily treated by a physical therapist specializing in postpartum care.

Common Postpartum Complaints:

  • Low back and lower extremity pain
  • Upper back and neck pain associated with breastfeeding
  • Upper extremity pain or numbness associated with child care
  • Diastasis recti: Separation of the rectus abdominus muscle which commonly occurs during healthy pregnancies. Diastasis Recti is a leading cause of pelvic floor dysfunction including incontinence, low back and pelvic pain, and prolapsed organs. With proper exercise and bracing it can be corrected.
  • Pain with intercourse or orgasm
  • Pain at site of episiotomy scar or perineal tear
  • Clitoral, vaginal, rectal, pubic, or tailbone pain
  • Pain at scar of C-Section, episiotomy, or perineal tear
  • Pelvic floor weakness
  • Prolapse
  • Urinary or fecal incontinence
  • Pelvic pain

How Physical Therapy Can Help:

  • Soft tissue mobilization, myofascial release, deep tissue massage
  • Muscle energy techniques
  • Therapeutic exercise
  • Posture, lifting techniques and biomechanics
  • Home exercise program
  • Abdominal binder/brace fitting
  • Scar massage
  • Modalities for pain control