Holistic Physical Therapy Care
As a part of our commitment to Women’s Health, Pivotal Physical Therapy works with women in both the pre- and post-natal stages of their pregnancies. Our physical therapists are board-certified by the American Physical Therapy Association Women’s Health Specialist section and are experts on abdominal core functions and its intricacies. Our goal, whether you had your baby yet or not, is to keep you healthy, strong, and as pain free as possible throughout this special time in your life. It is also our mission to educate our mothers-to-be and new moms about every stage of their physical transformations. It is critical to have an expert on hand that can answer your questions.
Why Physical Therapy During Pregnancy
The body goes through tremendous changes throughout pregnancy, especially in the 2nd and 3rd trimester. Physical Therapy can help your body adapt and prepare it for the rigors of childbirth.
The bodies core system (deep abdominal muscles, diaphragm, pelvic floor, and deep spinal muscles) is especially subject to these changes. Strengthening each part of the core system is integral for postural stability and support. To better prepare for delivery, the transverse abdominis (TrA) requires special attention and is best addressed with a progressive exercise program.
Research has shown that strong pelvic floor muscles allows for an easier delivery and recovery. Increased strength and control has shown to decrease bowel and bladder issues post-partum. In addition, physical therapy can teach you to contract and relax the pelvic floor muscles. The ability to control the pelvic floor muscles on command allows for an easier delivery. The inclination of your body during natural childbirth is not to relax, which is counterproductive. Our goal in physical therapy is to teach you effective coordination strategies between your TrA and pelvic floor muscles for this process.
Prenatal core system training addresses common pregnancy pain and symptoms such as low back, sacroiliac joint (SIJ), pubic symphysis, and hip pain. Physical therapy will also focus on strengthening the upper back, body and improved body mechanics. Repetitive lifting, carrying, and lowering of the new baby can be challenging. We teach you to move in a safe and energy efficient manner.
Why Physical Therapy After Childbirth
Vaginal birth: The vaginal tissues and the pelvic floor muscles are traumatized after a vaginal birth. Tissue injuries may include tears, episiotomies, excessive stretching of pelvic tissues after prolonged pushing. Post-delivery there can be pelvic floor muscle pain and loss of bladder and bowel function. Physical therapy helps minimize your pain, improves posture, increases core and pelvic floor strength, and improves bowel and bladder function.
Cesarean: A C-section is major abdominal surgery. Most orthopedic patients are prescribed rehabilitation after their surgeries, why shouldn’t a woman after a C-section? There may be pain, discomfort, and significant physical limitations, as well as loss of pelvic floor muscle, bladder and bowel function. Physical therapy helps minimize your pain, increase your core strength, improve bowel and bladder function, improve posture, and increase pelvic floor muscle strength. Caring for a newborn is challenging. We can assist you with the recovery process after abdominal surgery.
What is Abdominal Diastasis Recti and what can I do about it
An Abdominal Diastasis Recti (DRA) occurs when the Linea alba, the tissue between your rectus abdominis muscles (“six pack muscles”), softens and becomes more extensible. During pregnancy the body releases hormones called Relaxin. These hormones make it possible for the mother’s body to change dramatically throughout the pregnancy and allow for the widening of the pelvic bones for birth. The result is the separation of the two sides of your “six pack” as your abdomen expands for the growing baby. Sometimes the two sides don’t completely come back together after birth, often resulting with a gap between the two sides and a rounded, protruding belly “pooch.” This phenomenon occurs in both kinds of births, vaginal or C-section.
Our expert physical therapists can help decrease the severity of a DRA before, during, and after birth. A comprehensive physical evaluation helps identify your unique body structure and allow us to provide you with a safe rehabilitation program to strengthen all layers of your core system, from your deep stabilizing muscles to the top abdominal layer (“six pack abs”).