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Let's talk about Pelvic Health, baby!

*Super excited to have Nicole Bringer, DPT as a special guest blogger on pelvic health! A hot topic that is finally starting to get the attention it deserves!*


Would you ever sign up for a marathon without running a single mile to prepare? Have you ever heard of an athlete getting back on the field after a major injury without a period of rest followed by intense rehab with their trainer? Of course not! But somehow the norm for pregnancy and postpartum is for women to experience a 25+ pound weight change in less than a year, deliver a baby via abdominal surgery or the vagina (with an original opening the size of a nickel), and mysteriously “bounce back” to normal activity, appearance, and function without any guidance, likely while caring for one or more very adorable, yet extremely needy human beings.


Wow!! Just writing that paragraph made me feel anxious! Thankfully our society is beginning to recognize the fact that child-rearing is hard work and calling in reinforcements is acceptable and often necessary. Thank you doulas, lactation consultants, counselors, chiropractors and more for all that you do! I would like to propose that a women’s health physical therapists could ALSO play a vital role in your pregnancy prep and postpartum team.



Women’s health physical therapists specialize in the changes that occur within your musculoskeletal system during and after pregnancy. They often have training in pelvic health as well which means they have extra training in how to assess the pelvic floor’s function from an external as well as internal perspective.



Some common things that you might consult a physical therapist for during pregnancy or in the postpartum period are the following:


- Dos and Don’ts of prenatal exercise

- Birthing Position suggestions to minimize injury to mom

- Breathing and Relaxation Techniques to prepare the pelvic floor for labor and delivery

- Exercise, Positioning and Pain Relief techniques for mamas on bedrest

- Preparing your home for a newborn if you have a disability

- Urinary and Fecal Incontinence

- Painful Sex

- Diastasis Recti

- Immobility from nerve injury during labor and delivery

- Pain and immobility from pubic symphysis diastasis

- Tailbone pain related to coccyx injury

- Back and neck pain related to breastfeeding

- Pelvic organ prolapse

- Scarring and immobility from cesarean section delivery

- Home modifications to accommodate mom and baby

Although a woman’s body is going to be forever changed after participating in the miracle of creating life, mamas shouldn’t feel like they’re left with a body that is broken. Physical therapists want to give you tools and strategies that keep you strong so you can lift and chase after your little ones, return to intimacy in an enjoyable way with your partner, and be able to participate in activities like barre classes, 5ks, nature hikes, etc that make you healthy and happy inside and out! Sometimes it is a common misconception that women “pee when they sneeze” because they had a baby, it’s “normal for sex to hurt” because they had a baby, or “vaginal heaviness” occurs because they had a baby. While it’s true that these things commonly happen because we’ve had babies, they aren’t normal or indefinite after having babies and it will likely require more than just lots and lots of Kegels to solve these problems.

Diastasis Recti - one of the many things physical therapists can help with when addressing pelvis health (check out mine after twins, eek!)

Although a woman’s body is going to be forever changed after participating in the miracle of creating life, mamas shouldn’t feel like they’re left with a body that is broken. Physical therapists want to give you tools and strategies that keep you strong so you can lift and chase after your little ones, return to intimacy in an enjoyable way with your partner, and be able to participate in activities like barre classes, 5ks, nature hikes, etc that make you healthy and happy inside and out! Sometimes it is a common misconception that women “pee when they sneeze” because they had a baby, it’s “normal for sex to hurt” because they had a baby, or “vaginal heaviness” occurs because they had a baby. While it’s true that these things commonly happen because we’ve had babies, they aren’t normal or indefinite after having babies and it will likely require more than just lots and lots of kegels to solve these problems.


Physical therapy for mamas could be done during a hospitalization, at an outpatient clinic, or even in your own home! And while there are lots of therapists just waiting for mamas to walk through their doors, it isn’t standard for physical therapists to be included in prenatal and postpartum care in the United States. Good news though, they are accessible and sometimes even covered by insurance when you seek them out. When looking for a qualified physical therapist look for therapists with special training that will be indicated by words like “Herman and Wallace” trained or “CAPP” certified if you are hoping to have an internal assessment during your visit. Your therapist should be asking what your specific goals are, giving you tasks to complete at home between sessions, and you should be noticing progress after each session.


Knowledge is power, and I hope that this information empowers you to feel comfortable talking to your providers about physical therapy or seeking it out independently. Mamas do incredible things and they deserve to have the resources they need to live their best life.


If you’re ever looking for free information from the perspective of a mama and physical therapist, I put out videos weekly on my YouTube channel Mamas & Misses or on Instagram. If you live in West Michigan and are looking for some 1 on 1 time with a physical therapist, you can check out the services I offer locally on my website mamasandmisses.com .


Go forth as strong mamas so you can grow strong families!

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