Monthly Archives: March 2018

Post-Natal Care

Prenatal care for expectant mothers is provided automatically.  However, after the baby is born there is seldom any assistance to help mom return to her pre-baby state.  In Physical Therapy world, we think every new mom deserves post-natal care!  This was understood centuries ago, when postpartum care was given to mothers and newborns in India in the form of massage.

It is still a good idea today.  If you are expecting a baby, here are reasons to continue with professional care after you have your baby:
1.  Get your body back faster — Carrying a baby distorts the actions of your core muscles from the abdominal wall, back, respiratory diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles.  For instance, a separation of the abdominal wall, known as diastasis recti, can lead to back problems.  This can be helped with proper rehabilitation.  A physical therapist specializing in pelvic health can help you on the road to recovering your body sooner and preventing future problems.
2.  Prevent organ prolapse.  The effects of carrying the baby, delivering the baby and the ensuing lifting and carrying baby after delivery can contribute to dropping of the pelvic organs (bladder, uterus, and rectum).  This is correctable with the proper exercise and guidance.  As much as one third of surgical repairs of bladder prolapse fail, and this may have to do with the need for behavioral and muscular retraining.  A physical therapist specializing in pelvic rehabilitation may help prevent the need for surgery in the future,  in this early post-partum stage.
3.  Restore normal bowel and bladder function.  It is not uncommon after having a baby to have some problems with urinary or fecal leakage.  Physical therapists can help you correct this through behavior and muscle retraining.
4.  Return to sex with less pain.  We get very little guidance on how to return to sexual intercourse after having a baby.  A physical therapist can give you some tips to avoid pain with intimacy.
5.  Address pain before it becomes a constant.  Postpartum can mean continued back, hip, pubic and sacroiliac joint pain.   A busy mom may put her own pain aside to meet the demands of new motherhood and all its responsibilities.  It is important to address pain right away.  There is no need to suffer.  If a c-section was necessary, addressing the scar tissue can help prevent future problems as well.
If you don’t learn how to correct some of these issues, they can follow you for decades!  Consider including post-natal Physical Therapy care as part of your health care in the pregnancy, birth and post-partum experience.


By Sara Nelson, PT, DPT

As a physical therapist, I see a lot of people with physical problems that appear insurmountable.  Through the years I began to believe that some people just couldn’t move because of their pain or limitation.  I looked for ways to help them survive within those limitations.  This view is common in the medical world.   My son taught me this is an erroneous view.  My son is an Ironman.  If you don’t know, that is a competition in which participants swim 2.4 miles, Bike 112 miles and finish off by running a marathon (26.2 miles).  I was so concerned he would hurt himself when he did his first Ironman, he hadn’t even run a marathon.  He showed me that with proper pacing, fueling and self care, you can do almost anything.   He finished that Ironman and has gone on to do four of these races.  His wife was able to use his guidance and her own consistent effort to participate in and finish an Ironman herself, with 11 months of training.  She accomplished that with no joint injuries, and having not been a swimmer.

There were lessons for me as the observer of these accomplishments that I have put to use in my own life and passed on to my patients.  As a result, I am seeing people over come significant problems.  These lessons include (1) be careful what you believe about your body, you may be putting unnecessarily limits on yourself, (2) Pushing through injury and forcing limitations will NOT help you achieve physical goals.  Learn to work within your capacity and with your body to expand your abilities, (3) Modify workouts or take a break when you are hurting, until you can find the path forward where your will and body can work in harmony to achieve a goal. (4) Proper ‘fueling’ is absolutely necessary to go the distance.  In other words, practice healthy eating which includes adequate hydration and nutritious food eaten at regular intervals. (5) If you hurt, do something to feel better.  Self care is a powerful healer, and it includes massage, Epsom salts baths, learning about your body and how it works and how to help it heal, and more.

When I ask my son what he learned from the experience, he says he has learned that you can’t let your thinking intimidate you.  No matter how far you have to go, you only have to take one step at a time.

If you need help knowing what steps to take, talk to a physical therapist!