Postpartum physical therapy
Strength, function & body image
~Congratulations! You delivered your beautiful baby!!
Now, what can we do about you feeling like a bowl full of jelly?
Postpartum physical therapy is just as important as prenatal strengthening, if not more so! Just being pregnant compromises your abdominals and pelvic floor, regardless if you delivered vaginally or had a cesarean, no matter if you labored for 28.5 hours (I'm raising my hand) or for 6 hours (me again). Even if you are months or years postpartum, it is relevant and worth it to rehabilitate your core and pelvic floor. And now that you have a tiny baby or tot to take care of, it is of the utmost importance that you pay attention to your movement to protect your body so you can give your child, or children, the best care.
If you did not experience complications during labor and delivery, you can begin some specific exercises a few days after giving birth. These exercises are gentle yet effective, and targeted towards strengthening and reintegrating your core and pelvic floor. As you slowly get stronger, the exercises will become more challenging. Because breastfeeding and holding a tiny baby can wreek havoc on your upper body, we focus on stretches and manual work for your neck, chest, shoulders, and wrists. Manual work may include:
~soft tissue mobilization
~deep friction massage
~low velocity joint mobilizations
~neuromuscular rehab techniques such as PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation)
Modalities that may be used are:
Why rehab yourself after baby? Simply put, strengthening your core and pelvic floor will improve your function. As you gain strength, you will begin to feel more at ease when getting in and out of bed, getting on and off the floor to play with baby, going on walks with a front pack or sling, and lugging all that heavy and awkward baby equipment like the car seat and stroller.
Most of us are more than ready to return to our pre-pregnancy bodies after baby is born (and maybe even look better than before!). Pilates-based exercises target core strength and therefore tone the waist line and flatten the abs.
I will assess for diastasis recti and pelvic floor weakenss. This can be done for any mama who is postpartum, even if your baby is no longer teeny tiny. Diastatsis not only causes your abs to look a certain way, it negatively affects your functioning as your core is no longer intact.
Reintegrating core and pelvic floor also address postpartum incontinence. Although I do not currently perform internal work for the pelvic floor, I can assess if it is necessary for such work and refer you to a specialized Women's Health physical therapist to help you.