Lila Abbate, PT, DPT, MS, OCS, WCS
Physical Therapy for Pregnancy and Post-Partum Symptoms
Updated: Jan 10, 2021
Pregnancy and post- partum is often considered a unique and special time in a woman’s life. However, many painful conditions can arise from the changes that occur in the body. Weight gain and the position of the growing baby, while considered normal, can lead to a variety of symptoms such as low back pain, symphysis pubic dysfunction, separation of the abdominals, pelvic floor dysfunction, and increased lower extremity and postural stresses. Many of these painful conditions can be treated conservatively with the help of a physical therapist specialized in women’s health as part of the medical team.
Pregnancy-related low back and pelvic pain often begins in the first trimester of pregnancy and tends to increase with advancing pregnancy and subsequent pregnancies. Women’s health physical therapists are musculoskeletal experts in providing core-focused training while preventing overstretching of muscles, tendons, and ligaments, which may be contraindicated in pregnancy. Pelvic floor dysfunction can occur from increased demands on the pelvic floor muscles to support to the growing body and uterus and lead to urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and pelvic pain. Pelvic floor muscle injuries can also occur from the trauma of birth such as perineal tearing, posterior pelvic floor muscle tearing of the levator ani, or pelvic organ prolapse from prolonged labor and pushing or traumatic birthing methods. Women’s health physical therapists are trained in providing treatment for all of the above conditions and helping women return to optimal function post pregnancy.
Today’s society offers many options for exercise during pregnancy and return to exercise post- partum. Physical therapists specialized in women’s health offer clients the safest and best option secondary to understanding the physiological mechanisms of pregnancy better than a standard personal trainer, their diverse knowledge of both orthopedic and pelvic floor pathophysiology, and their ability to set more realistic goals based off function and long term health over goals revolving around aesthetics that can lead to further worsening of symptoms. They understand how to prevent injuries and pain during pregnancy to progress women through all trimesters comfortably. They also understand how to modify all your activities of daily living post- partum to optimize musculoskeletal and pelvic floor health such as breast feed positions, taking car seats out safely, lifting babies, pushing the stroller, and safely returning to full level fitness without long term negative effects on the healing body.
We are a growing team of Women’s health physical therapists at New Dimensions Physical Therapy in Manhasset, NY that are looking to spread our passion about improving the lives of mothers and create positive change for them. We would love to come give a presentation at the Long Island Women’s Institute to further empower women with knowledge on options for optimizing their health. Our women’s health team is experienced in treating women through pregnancy and postpartum along with a variety of other pelvic and orthopedic conditions.