Pregnancy and delivery change the body!
Whether you are just thinking about getting pregnant, are pregnant, new mom, or it’s a been a while since you delivered, pelvic floor physiotherapy can be beneficial for you.
Are you a new mom struggling with taking care of your baby because you have pain? You are not alone! There are a couple avenues of treatment:
- 2nd Trimester Visit
- 3rd Trimester Visit
- Mothers’ Visit
Preparation for pregnancy
Are you contemplating being pregnant? If so, booking a pelvic floor assessment with Marie-Josée will provide you with an analysis of your current level of function including baseline measurements, core muscle assessment using Real-Time Ultrasound technology along with an internal pelvic examination to evaluate your pelvic floor. Marie-Josée will also assess your posture and will recommend exercises for optimizing (relaxing or strengthening) your muscles in preparation for the changes associated with pregnancy. She will educate you regarding what to expect throughout the pregnancy with a focus on changes in the body as the baby grows inside you.
2nd Trimester Visit
If you are just starting with us during your second trimester, Marie-Josée will perform a full assessment including Real-Time Ultrasound technology to assess your core muscles and check for diastasis recti. An internal pelvic examination will also be helpful in assessing pelvic floor function and addressing any trigger points and changes in muscle tone. We will discuss body structures most impacted during pregnancy and self-care strategies, specific to your needs.
3rd Trimester Visit
Muscles, ligaments and connective tissues all have to stretch to accommodate the baby, making it harder for them to perform their roles as stabilizers. Your abdominal muscles work closely with your pelvic floor muscles and sometimes dysfunction in one muscle group can lead to dysfunction in the other. If present, pain will be addressed and alleviating strategies will be explored. Constipation and hemorrhoids are not uncommon and strategies to minimize discomfort and facilitate evacuation can be addressed. Also, preparation for birth will include education and any concerns and questions will be addressed.
New (and not-so-new) Mothers Visit (6-8 weeks post-delivery or later)
Delivery either vaginally or via c-section, impacts your pelvic floor and core muscle systems.
Pelvic Floor Weakness
After vaginal delivery, stretching and tearing of the pelvic floor tissue can lead to changes in pelvic floor muscle function. C-section surgery interrupts the abdominal myofascial ring and can lead to changes in your ability to activate your core muscles. The pelvic floor and core muscles work together to provide stability for the low back. Low back and/or pelvic girdle pain, incontinence, or pelvic organ prolapse where the bladder, rectum or uterus descend into the vagina can be impacted by either form of delivery. An internal examination can be done after 6 weeks postpartum to check for pelvic organ prolapse as well as checking for muscle tone of the pelvic floor. Also, Marie-Josée uses Real-time Ultrasound Imaging to evaluate core muscle function as well as diastasis recti.
Incontinence and Pain
Incontinence, frequent urination, low back pain, groin or pubic pain, and weak core muscles are all common complaints after giving birth. Pain may be due to tight scarring or adhesions that were caused by tearing during delivery or it may be due to tight pelvic floor muscles. Often when the deep pelvic floor is not working, the superficial muscles remain in a contracted position causing pain when attempts at intercourse are made. An internal examination can identify the root cause of the pain. Myofascial release techniques can help to restore normal function.
Musculoskeletal Pain and Dysfunction
Caring for a new baby can involve repetitive movements that may impact the neck, shoulders, elbows, low back, and wrists. We can help with physio treatment for these symptoms so that you feel better and reduce the ongoing risk of symptoms with instruction regarding good posture and ergonomics! For example, we can recommend safer ways to bathe your baby, lift him/her out of the crib or car seat, and to breast feed in a position that puts less stress on your body.
Many new moms find that intercourse is painful following the birth of their child. A recent study in BJOG noted that at 18 months postpartum, 24% of the 1211 women in the study reported persistent painful intercourse (dyspareunia). They also noted that women who had obstetric intervention such as sutured tears, caesarean section and vacuum extraction had increased odds of reporting persistent dyspareunia at 18 months post-partum. As stated above, an internal examination can identify the root cause of the pain. Myofascial release techniques can help to restore normal function.
Safe Post-Partum Return to Sport
It is strongly recommended that all post-partum women should be checked for abdominal and pelvic floor muscle function prior to returning to sport or exercise. Additionally, we can provide an individually tailored return to sport program.