“I wish I had come earlier!” is a phrase we hear time and time again as pelvic health physical therapists. While many women do not learn about pelvic floor physical therapy until the postpartum period, there are many benefits to seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist during pregnancy.
For those who are experiencing discomfort, there are countless things we can do to help keep you healthy and address pregnancy related pains from round ligaments to low back and hip pain. For those experiencing a healthy pregnancy, pelvic floor physical therapy will teach you the tools to prevent some common prenatal and postpartum issues including leakage, diastasis recti, and pelvic organ prolapse.
We use a framework called the 4 P’s to highlight the benefits of prenatal pelvic floor physical therapy.
Prevention: The reality is that most of us have never been asked to connect with our pelvic floor before pregnancy. While kegels are important, they are only half the picture and studies show that about 40% of women are doing them incorrectly.
- Strengthen and lengthen your pelvic floor muscles to optimally stabilize your pelvis, prevent urinary incontinence, and prepare for labor.
- Learn safe techniques for getting out of bed, safely lifting, and getting in and out of a car
- Strategies for a better night’s sleep
- Exercises to prevent diastasis recti (abdominal separation)
Pain Management: Please please please do not live with pain during pregnancy! Your body goes through dramatic and amazing changes during pregnancy; however, this can significantly impact our biomechanics leading to newfound discomfort. Some common pain with treat during pregnancy include:
- Round ligament
- Pelvic pain (pubic symphysis, SI Joints, etc)
- Low back pain
- Mid back/shoulder/neck pain
Physical Exercise: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends pregnant women with uncomplicated pregnancies should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. There are countless benefits for both mom and baby during pregnancy. A pelvic health physical therapist will help you:
- Learn safe exercise modifications to keep you and baby healthy and active
- Connect to your pelvic floor during dynamic activities
- Learn proper breathwork to connect to your deep core and prevent diastasis recti
Preparation for Labor: We help you prepare for labor just like your would prepare for a major competition:
- Perineal stretching. Learn how to stretch your pelvic floor muscles to help prevent tearing
- Learn about birthing positions and best body mechanics for labor (you don’t have to deliver on your back!)
- Practice breathing and pelvic floor relaxation strategies
Wherever you are in your journey, it is never too early or too late to take care of your body.
Meghan Krill, PT, DPT
Owner Flora Physical Therapy, a pelvic health physical therapy practice in downtown Fairfield, CT