Within the last few years there has been a large shift to create a culture of exercise and wellness, yet we still have some reservations in pregnancy and post partum. Most women are asking if they should exercise during pregnancy and if so, what type of exercise is best. And then what happens if they have pain, is it safe to be active? In the post partum period, we often question when it is safe to resume activity and how we should navigate things like Diastasis Recti (aka abdominal separation) or incontinence. All of this worry, and many women often end up limiting or avoiding activity because guidance and a solution seem scarce.
Ease Your Pelvic Pain
The short answer to those questions is, YES, exercise is helpful! We see a HUGE benefit for decreasing pelvic pain, improving movement quality, and improving tolerance for everyday activities, like caring for a tiny human. Unfortunately, sometimes despite our best efforts, trying to exercise or maintain our activity levels seems impossible. This is where your rehab professionals come in…specifically, your physical therapists.
Identify Your Muscle Patterns
As physical therapists, we are uniquely skilled in assessing the quality of a movement, the strength of specific muscles, and the types of patterns (efficient or inefficient) we use to create larger movements like lifting or squatting. Therapists are trained in creating a specific plan to address those issues. This is where the art and refinery comes in with therapy. Anyone can Google “how to strengthen [insert muscle here]”, but often the issue isn’t just “a lack of strength”. It may come down to the individuals ability to control a muscle, the efficiency of the strategy used to activate a muscle, and the way that individual uses that muscle during functional activity. Under the guidance of a physical therapist, women find they are able to maintain active during pregnancy and recover faster in the post partum period.
When Should You Get Treatment
So when should you see a physical therapist? At any point during pregnancy or after is an appropriate time. We recommend at the onset of pain or discomfort in the low back, pelvis, hips, or legs (or anywhere else for that matter), the earlier you get in, the better! In the post partum period, you should see a physical therapist close to your 4- or 6-week check up. We believe a physical exam completed by a physical therapist trained in pelvic floor rehabilitation should occur around the 4/6 week check up. It is essential to evaluate a woman’s readiness to return to activity. Physical therapists are your “go to” health care practitioner to guide your physical return to activity following pregnancy. Contact your neighborhood physical therapists at Odyssey PT today for guidance; we come to you!
About The Author
Dr. Kim Howell, Doctor of Physical Therapy
People are busy and life is about convenience. We wanted to bring more convenience to the healthcare industry. Instead of driving to a clinic, waiting, and not getting individualized treatment, we come to you. Our philosophy is to put the patient’s health first. After years of working for outpatient clinics we realized that we could improve the standard of care for those who required therapy to live their optimal lifestyles. Outpatient clinics focus on maximizing the number of the visits, we focus on maximizing your health.