Do you think of pelvic floor physical therapy as something that only happens postpartum in recovery? Think again! Just like we prehab and rehab an ACL surgery, we should prehab and rehab pregnancy and postpartum. Pelvic floor physical therapy can be highly beneficial for pregnant individuals for several reasons. During pregnancy, the body undergoes significant changes, and the pelvic floor, a group of muscles, ligaments, and tissues located at the base of the pelvis, is particularly affected. Here are some reasons why someone might consider getting pelvic floor physical therapy while pregnant (hint: it’s way more than kegels!):
Preparation for Labor and Delivery: Pelvic floor physical therapy can help relax and coordinate the pelvic floor muscles, which play a crucial role during labor and delivery. The role of the pelvic floor in a vaginal delivery is to get the heck out of the way. Those holding tension in the pelvic floor muscles (many of us!) might have a hard time with this. Well-coordinated pelvic floor muscles contribute to better control during the pushing phase of labor, aiding in a smoother childbirth experience.
Prevention and Management of Pain: As the body changes to accommodate the growing fetus, it's common for pregnant individuals to experience discomfort or pain in the pelvic region, lower back, hips, or groin. Pelvic floor physical therapy provides exercises and techniques to alleviate and manage this pain by improving posture and muscle support.
Bladder and Bowel Function: Pregnancy can sometimes lead to issues such as urinary incontinence (leakage of urine) and constipation due to the pressure on the pelvic organs and changes in hormone levels. Pelvic floor physical therapy addresses these concerns by teaching exercises and strategies to improve bladder and bowel control.
Postural Awareness: As the body's center of gravity shifts during pregnancy, working on posture becomes essential to prevent strain and discomfort. Pelvic floor physical therapy can offer guidance on how to maintain good posture and avoid putting unnecessary pressure on the pelvic floor muscles, spine, and hips.
Diastasis Recti Management: Diastasis recti is a condition where the abdominal muscles separate due to the growing baby. Pelvic floor physical therapists can provide exercises and guidance to help manage this separation, promoting better core strength and stability.
Pelvic Floor Relaxation: As mentioned earlier, many people hold tension in the pelvic floor muscles without realizing it. Tension in these muscles can lead to pain and discomfort. Pelvic floor physical therapy can teach relaxation techniques that are beneficial both during pregnancy and postpartum. Think: the opposite of kegels!
Individualized Care: Every pregnant individual's body is unique, and their needs and challenges will differ. Pelvic floor physical therapy offers personalized assessments and treatment plans tailored to the individual's specific concerns and physical condition.
Postpartum Recovery: Pelvic floor physical therapy can also be beneficial postpartum to aid in the recovery of the pelvic floor muscles after childbirth. This can help address issues such as pelvic organ prolapse, pain during intercourse, urinary leakage, and overall muscle strength and tone.
Are you pregnant or trying to get pregnant? Let's make your pregnancy more enjoyable, your delivery easier, and your recovery smoother. Reach out to Sage Physical Therapy to schedule an appointment or go ahead and book online!