PRENATAL AND POSTPARTUM PHYSIOTHERAPY
In Squamish, B.C.
PRENATAL PELVIC FLOOR PHYSIOTHERAPY
Prenatal pelvic floor physiotherapy focuses on preparing the pelvic floor and body for delivery and education to empower the mama. The pelvic floor muscles support and carry your baby for 9 months, plus the extra weight, placenta, increased fluids and weight of gravity on these muscles can put a strain on them. These muscles also must have the ability to lengthen and stretch in order to deliver the baby. A pelvic floor physiotherapist can help you strengthen and lengthen the pelvic floor to prevent common issues during pregnancy. These include urinary incontinence, low back pain, increased pelvic pressure and more. Pelvic floor physiotherapy also provides education on optimal labour and delivery positions, safe prenatal exercise throughout each trimester, hands on maneuvers to help alleviate discomfort during labour and also how to push when baby is ready to arrive. Learning about what to expect postpartum, what exercises to do and when and what returning to exercise and activity realistically looks like, are all important to learn before baby arrives.
Pelvic girdle pain (sacroiliac joint, pubic symphysis...) and low back pain are very common during pregnancy, especially in the 3rd trimester. Your body has an increased amount of the hormone Relaxin, which causes an increase in laxity in your joints, allowing more space for the growing fetus. This, coupled with muscular imbalances, can lead to pain throughout your pelvis and lower back. Physiotherapy can help relieve pain, and teach you tools about posture and mechanics. A treatment might include soft tissue release to tight muscles, gentle joint mobilizations and effective exercises to treat the imbalances. Claire is trained in Rost Therapy for Pregnancy Related Pelvic Girdle Pain and Rost Therapy for Coccyx pain.
POSTPARTUM PELVIC FLOOR PHYSIOTHERAPY
With the delivery of a baby comes trauma to the pelvic floor. The muscles of the pelvic floor are stretched, strained and often torn during the process. 6 weeks postpartum most women are given the “all clear” signal from their doctor to resume regular activities. Without proper rehabilitation of the muscles, new mamas can develop urinary incontinence, low back pain, pelvic organ prolapse, pain with intercourse and more.
Whether you've had a Caesarean birth or a vaginal delivery, Claire will work with you to strengthen your pelvic floor and core and guide you back to regular activities and exercise. The assessment will also include a thorough examination of core function and presence of a diastasis (separation of the abdominal muscles). I want to get you stronger and more confident in your body and fitness goals than prior to pregnancy. Another very common issue after having a baby is pain with intercourse (dyspareunia). This can occur as a result of scar tissue, hypersensitivity of the muscles following tearing and/or stretching, or from an overactive hypertonic (tight) pelvic floor. A pelvic floor physiotherapist will help soften the scar tissue and desensitize any hypersensitive areas to help resume pain-free intercourse.
Wondering when you can return to exercise? Check out my blog post about those early weeks/months and what I recommend.
Proper rehabilitation during the first year postpartum (and beyond!) is essential to safely resuming exercise and returning to sport. For nine months, your body adapted and grew a human, and your muscles, joints and connective tissue changed how they function. Regaining strength, flexibility and core stability is necessary to return to exercise, whether it be just walking the dog, or high level sports. Claire is passionate about helping mamas safely return to running and exercise postpartum, and you can read about her own experience here.
Make an appointment to see your pelvic floor physiotherapist as soon as you feel comfortable. We often wait until 6 weeks postpartum for an internal vaginal assessment of the pelvic floor, but there is LOTS to do before this, and I want you to get a jump start on your recovery.
CESAREAN BIRTH RECOVERY
A C-section is considered a major abdominal surgery, and they are often performed in an emergency setting, especially for first deliveries. This can leave women feeling unprepared for what to do next and how to go about recovering from surgery. It is so common to hear "wait 6 weeks, and then you are cleared for exercise!" You would never hear this coming from an orthopaedic surgeon for a knee surgery, why is a c-section any different? Check out this blog post on all things c-section prep and recovery.