Why is Postpartum Physical Therapy Necessary?

Why is Postpartum Physical Therapy Necessary?

Every woman who has given birth via vaginal or C-section delivery has been able to experience the beauty of what our bodies are capable of doing. During pregnancy, our bodies change, our ligaments become more lax, and our pelvis opens in order to allow our baby to grow comfortably inside of us. 

During postpartum recovery, our body needs some time and rehabilitation to recover. Postpartum physical therapy is an essential part of recovery in order to strengthen our pelvic floor muscles, decrease any scar tissue from surgery or tearing, and align our bodies to maximize function and strength.  Often in the United States, postpartum recovery is not mentioned unless there is an issue with our healing, but that needs to change. It is better to prevent any postpartum issues than just wait for them to come to us with a vengeance. In Europe, all women are immediately referred to pelvic floor physical therapy for one year after giving birth, no matter their method of delivery. 

Thankfully, we now live in a world where women are more in touch with their bodies and have access to information about wellness, exercise, and postpartum optimal health (although we still have a long way to go). 

So what is the goal of postpartum physical therapy? The goal is to maximize every woman’s potential, help them return to activities such as running, pilates, strength training, or any activity they are passionate about. After completing postpartum physical therapy, women should be able to perform any activities they want without leaking, pressure or pain. Women should also be able to play and care for their children pain-free. 

How do we achieve this in postpartum physical therapy? First, we address and evaluate any discomfort or issues you may be experiencing. These could include leaking, constipation, low back pain, tailbone pain, pelvic pressure, prolapse, or feeling of overall weakness. Once we find the root cause of the issue, we perform manual therapy to muscles, joints and the nervous system. We also create an individualized exercise plan for each person to increase strength and mobility, and educate on body mechanics and posture modifications to improve core stability and maximize function.

Dr. Krisia Gattas, PT, DPT