fbpx

Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy: A Guide for Post-Pregnancy Rehabilitation

March 9th, 2024
Physical therapist assist woman laying on her back doing pelvic exercises

Welcoming a new baby is a joyful yet physically challenging experience for many mothers. The postpartum period requires not only adjustments to new routines but also focusing on the mother’s recovery. A significant aspect of this recovery involves postpartum pelvic floor physical therapy, a crucial step toward regaining pelvic health and overall well-being.

Understanding Postpartum Pelvic Health

The Importance of Pelvic Floor PT

Pelvic floor physical therapy (PT) is a specialized area of physical therapy and is often focused on addressing disorders of the pelvic floor that may arise after childbirth. These issues can include, but are not limited to, incontinence, pain, and pelvic organ prolapse.

  • Pelvic Health Physiotherapy: A holistic approach that assesses and treats pelvic floor dysfunction through exercises, education, and manual therapy techniques. This preventative pelvic health care is essential for both during and after pregnancy to ensure a strong recovery.

Pelvic Health Rehab During Pregnancy

Preparing the pelvic floor for childbirth will significantly impact your postpartum recovery. Engaging in preventative pelvic health care with a pelvic health physical therapist has been shown to reduce the severity of postpartum pelvic floor issues, including pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy and pubic symphysis pain relief.

Role of a Physical Therapist

A physical therapist specializing in pelvic health can offer personalized care tailored to each mother’s needs. They play a crucial role in:

  • Assessing pelvic floor function.
  • Providing exercises and alignment techniques to strengthen the pelvic floor; crucial for addressing postpartum pelvic floor dysfunctions.
  • Educating on proper body mechanics and posture during baby care activities.

Key Techniques for Postpartum Pelvic Rehabilitation

Strengthening Exercises

  • Beyond Kegels: The cornerstone of pelvic floor strengthening by rebalancing the rotator cuff system in your hips, giving proper length and therefore strength to your pelvic floor. 
  • Kegels: Essential for urinary incontinence post-pregnancy IF your physical therapist finds your pelvic floor needs strengthening. Note: Kegels can worsen incontinence issues IF your pelvic floor is actually too tight and needs lengthening. 
  • Core Strengthening: Engaging and strengthening the core muscles including repairing diastasis rectus abdominis in order to support pelvic health.

Manual Therapy

  • Soft Tissue Mobilization: Helps to relieve scar tissue adhesions and improve tissue elasticity.
  • Joint Mobilization: Addresses any pelvic alignment issues that can contribute to discomfort and dysfunction.
  • Visceral Manipulation:
    • Visceral Manipulation stands out as an innovative approach to pelvic health, providing a non-invasive alternative to traditional internal methods. This gentle manual therapy focuses on enhancing the mobility, tone, and motion of the internal organs, offering a holistic path to recovery and well-being after childbirth. Its application in pelvic health yields several key benefits:
      • Enhancing Functional Movements: By targeting the uterus, bladder, and other pelvic organs, visceral manipulation works to alleviate undue pressure and discomfort in the pelvic floor area, promoting a sense of relief and freedom in movement.
      • Relieving Tension: The therapy excels in loosening tension and restrictions in the connective tissues that envelop the pelvic organs. This easing of constriction addresses various postpartum pelvic issues, facilitating a smoother recovery process.
      • Improving Circulation: The enhanced mobility and function of the pelvic organs, achieved through visceral manipulation, significantly boost blood flow and nutrient delivery. This not only aids in the healing of the pelvic area but also contributes to the overall vitality and health of postpartum mothers.
      • By offering an external method of treatment, visceral manipulation presents a compelling solution for those seeking an alternative to internal pelvic work. It respects the body’s natural rhythms and structures, working with them to restore balance and health in a gentle, non-intrusive manner. This therapy aligns with the holistic principle that the body’s systems are interrelated and interdependent, acknowledging that the health of the pelvic organs is crucial for the well-being of the entire body.

Education and Lifestyle Adjustments

  • Proper Lifting Techniques: To avoid additional strain on the pelvic floor.
  • Bladder and Bowel Health Management: Strategies to manage symptoms of incontinence and constipation, enhancing the benefits of pelvic health rehab.

Urinary Incontinence Post-Pregnancy

Urinary incontinence, the involuntary loss of urine, is a common concern post-pregnancy. Pelvic health physiotherapy offers effective strategies and exercises designed to rebalance and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles to alleviate this condition, providing women with a significant improvement in quality of life.

What to Expect During a Pelvic Health PT Session

In a pelvic health PT session, the physical therapist will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the pelvic floor muscles and related structures. This may include:

  • Pelvic Floor Muscle Assessment: Often this includes an exam similar to a gynecological exam but focused on the strength, endurance, and coordination of the pelvic floor muscles. However, not all physical therapists will utilize an internal examination, there are external ways to assess these muscle functions as well. 
  • Whole-Body Evaluation: Assessing how the body functions as a unit, including the spine, pelvis, and abdomen to tailor a personalized treatment plan.
  • Education and Guidance: Providing insights on pelvic floor health, preventive care, and exercises to practice at home.

Choosing the Right Physical Therapy Newport Facility

Finding the right physical therapy facility for pelvic health in Newport, Oregon, means looking for a place where specialized care in pelvic health physiotherapy is prioritized. It’s important to find a facility where the environment is not just professional but also compassionate and understanding. A practice that offers personalized treatment plans, tailored to each patient’s unique needs, can make a significant difference in the recovery journey. The facility should ensure privacy and comfort, fostering a supportive atmosphere for healing. With a focus on holistic treatment approaches, including manual therapy and customized exercise programs, patients can expect a comprehensive path to recovery. At Redefining Health’s Boutique PT Newport Oregon clinic we cover all of these areas and we can help. We also value flexibility in scheduling, ensuring that treatment fits seamlessly into your life.

Conclusion

The journey toward postpartum recovery is deeply personal yet universally challenging for many new mothers. Postpartum pelvic rehabilitation represents not just a pathway to physical recovery but a step towards reclaiming one’s body autonomy and confidence after the transformative experience of childbirth. Engaging with a specialized physical therapist can offer not only tailored exercises and treatments but also a compassionate understanding of the postpartum body’s unique needs and challenges.

Choosing to prioritize pelvic health through physiotherapy is an investment in your long-term well-being. It’s about more than just recovery; it’s about empowering yourself with the knowledge and strength to face the demands of motherhood with confidence as well as prepare your vessel for your next little one. Whether you’re experiencing discomfort, seeking to enhance your pelvic strength, or simply aiming for a healthier postpartum life, pelvic health PT offers a foundation upon which you can build a resilient body and spirit.

Begin Your Path to Recovery

If you or someone you know could benefit from pelvic floor health physical therapy, reach out to Redefining Health Physical Therapy in Newport. Our team is dedicated to supporting your recovery process with expert care and personalized attention. Visit our website or call our clinic in Newport, Oregon, to learn more about how we can support your journey back to pelvic health. Start your recovery journey today and take the first step towards a healthier, more vibrant postpartum life.

Medical References

1. Romeikienė, K. E., & Bartkevičienė, D. (2021). Pelvic-floor dysfunction prevention in prepartum and postpartum periods. Medicina (Kaunas), 57(4), 387. https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina57040387

2. Kirk, B., & Elliott-Burke, T. (2021). The effect of visceral manipulation on Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA): A case series. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 26, 471-480. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbmt.2020.06.007

3. Lawson, S., & Sacks, A. (2018). Pelvic floor physical therapy and women’s health promotion. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, 63(4), 410-417. https://doi.org/10.1111/jmwh.12736

Tags: , , , ,