A lot of women are unaware that physical therapy can help after delivering via vaginally or via c-section. Additionally, many doctors are unaware that physical therapy can be helpful for postpartum women. Don’t assume that since your doctor didn’t recommend therapy, you don’t need therapy.
If you are currently pregnant, start the conversation early, see if your doctor refers to physical therapy after giving birth. If you are already having back or pelvic pain, don’t wait until after delivery, there are many ways a physical therapist can make your pregnancy as comfortable as possible. Physical therapy during pregnancy can lay the groundwork for a good delivery and a better recovery afterwards.
Here are 4 major reasons to seek physical therapy after delivery:
- Manage bladder or bowel issues: It is not uncommon for women after delivery to have bladder leakage and/or fecal leakage or urgency issues. Several Studies have shown that targeted pelvic floor muscle strengthening and coordination training can make a big difference in minimizing and completely resolving bladder leakage. While it may be common to have bladder leakage in the first couple of weeks after delivery, this should subside rather quickly, and if it is still present, it is important to intervene sooner rather than later. You may be told “Oh, you just had a baby. It’s normal.” Please know that this is common, but not normal.
- Prevent scar tissue adhesions or pelvic pain issues: If you had a vaginal delivery with an episiotomy or a natural tear, there may be scar tissue that develops in the vaginal canal. If you had a c-section, there will be an abdominal scar. For most people, scars heal well, but scar tissue can at times adhere to the tissue underneath it and not move well, causing pelvic pain or pain with intercourse. It can also cause low back or abdominal pain. Partnering with a pelvic floor physical therapist, we will assess the scar and teach you ways to desensitize the scar and improve its mobility.
- To help manage or prevent low back pain: It is not uncommon to experience low back, mid back or upper back pain from all of the additional lifting, carrying, you are doing when caring for a new baby. Partnering with a physical therapist can ensure you are using your muscles correctly so you can care for your newborn without experiencing pain.
- Wellness for future pregnancies: Many women who have delivered and possibly had a traumatic birth or delivery report hesitation about what will happen the next time, if they plan to have more children. Starting the body recovery process early can help prepare for future pregnancies and deliveries, setting you up for the best outcomes. A physical therapist will make sure the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles are strong and moving well or make sure scar tissue is moving the way it should be moving.
Many new moms are leery about returning to exercise and wanting to make sure that they’re doing things correctly. Partnering with a physical therapist can assist with creating a targeted exercise program that is safe and effective for you without putting extra stress and strain on your body. We don’t want you to be scared to move. We want you to get out there and be active.
If you are pregnant or a new mom who is experiencing any of these issues, we hope that you reach out and partner with a physical therapist. If you’re local to St. Louis, we will be happy to help you, please reach out for a free discovery session.