Currently in the United States, 6 week postpartum checkups only last about 10 minutes. You may have a brief internal exam, talk about future birth control plans, and likely get an “all clear” from your doctor to return to activity as usual. Likely no discussion of common pelvic floor conditions women experience, and no discussion about when to see a pelvic floor therapist after birth if problems arise.
Yup, you’re good. All clear.
And that is your postpartum care.
Healthcare for moms is ripe for a revolution.
So, how do you know when to start pelvic floor therapy after birth?
Women’s bodies go through incredible physical, hormonal, and musculoskeletal changes during pregnancy and childbirth.
So when is it time to see a pelvic floor therapist after birth? We think – always. Pelvic Floor Therapy after birth should be standard care for every postpartum woman in the United States.
Why? Because you deserve more. Because you deserve to truly get back to “Yup, you’re good. All clear.”
Because pelvic floor therapists specialize in the muscles and tissues of the pelvic floor. Pelvic floor physical therapy can provide that care. Here are some common things we look for.
Or, a separation of your abdominal muscles that commonly occurs during pregnancy.
You may feel and look like you are still pregnant. You may not know that the crunches you are doing to get your abs back after the baby could be making this condition worse.
You could also have pelvic floor problems like urinary leakage, painful sex, or pelvic organ prolapse and not know that diastasis recti and pelvic floor dysfunction often go hand in hand.
Pelvic floor weakness or overactivity
Getting the “all clear” to get back to normal life, you may want to start working out again, after all “Yup, you’re good. All clear.”
You may go back to running and experience urinary incontinence.
You may do jumping jacks and feel heaviness in your vagina like something is falling out.
You may start yoga, which you hear is great for postpartum recovery and have embarrassing vaginal farts.
You may get on a spin bike or stair stepper and have excruciating tailbone pain.
And you may have no idea that any of this may be due to weak or tense pelvic floor muscles, something pelvic physical therapy can address.
Pain with sex
It’s likely you will not have a conversation with your doctor about returning to sex and the discomfort or pain many women experience weeks after delivery.
Healing tissue from a vaginal tear or episiotomy may cause pain with penetration during sex. It can even cause some bleeding afterwards.
Your vagina may be very dry, you can’t orgasm, or you may leak urine when you orgasm.
A pelvic floor PT can help deal with all of this. So you can truly get back to normal and enjoyable sex.
You can’t wear jeans anymore, you avoid lying on your stomach, and you don’t like wearing your baby in a carrier because your scar hurts.
C-Section scars can also cause:
- Bladder problems
- Groin pain
This isn’t your new normal. This isn’t “Yup, you’re good. All clear.” Physical therapy can help to mobilize scar tissue and address these concerns.
Pelvic Floor Physical Therapists really can help get moms back to “all clear”.
When needed, seek help.
If you are experiencing any leakage, pelvic pain, pain with sex, scar pain (both c-section or episiotomy), seek out a pelvic floor therapist.
As a pelvic health physical therapist, I have worked with women during pregnancy and the postpartum period for over a decade. I help educate them how to care for their pelvic floor muscles, inform them that any pain, leakage, or prolapse is not normal. I guide them on a safe return to exercise, sex, and activity to meet the increasing demands of their lives.
Time and time again I hear, “I had no idea this type of physical therapy existed” or “Why didn’t my doctor tell me about this sooner?”
The postpartum care for women is in desperate need of improvement and the awareness of pelvic physical therapy needs to grow.
I am baffled that medical professionals send sleep-deprived women home with bleeding vaginas, tender scars, sore breasts and a newborn baby to care for – and all they get are – Yup, you’re good. All clear.
Not sure if you’re all good? You might be, but you might not be. It’s okay if you aren’t. We’re here to help.
If you want to know more on how to take great care of your pelvic floor, get my FREE GUIDE with 6+ Simple Tips to Prevent or Overcome Pelvic Floor Problems.
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