Category Archives: Pregnancy

Why everyone should see a Women’s Health Physical Therapist at least one time after having a baby:

pregnancy

Pregnancy and Childbirth ain’t for sissies! I once had a male colleague liken childbirth to a “motor vehicle accident of your pelvis”! Whether you have had a vaginal delivery or a planned c-section, your body goes through so many changes during pregnancy and the birth of your baby that, if not addressed, can put you at risk for injury in the future. Hormones are secreted that loosen up your joints and make you more prone to injury, your pelvic and abdominal muscles are stretched and weakened, making you more prone to issues such as low back pain, incontinence and prolapse later in life. Sometimes in a vaginal delivery muscles and tissues are torn. During a c-section tissues are stretched and cut to make room for the emerging baby. So, why, with all of this trauma and change do we expect our bodies to return to their “pre-pregnancy state” in a matter of weeks and why don’t we seek help to minimize the effects of this trauma and maximize our body’s healing potential?

I think, in my opinion it’s because

#1 new babies take a lot of time and what new mom has time for weekly visits to a PT?

#2 society considers these changes “normal” and for that reason, they almost becomes a badge that new moms must wear and deal with as just a result of pregnancy and birth

#3 access to physical therapy may be readily available, but unfortunately is not often recommended routinely for new moms by their physicians

In many countries in Europe it is standard for a woman to be referred to and receive several visits with a physical therapist following delivery in order to maximize their body’s recovery. In my opinion, this is one area where we are behind the 8-ball and missing the opportunity to help so many women and prevent dysfunction later in life.

So what can you gain from seeing a physical therapist post-partum?

First of all, a physical therapist can help with pelvic pain that may develop post- partum from muscle spasm. If you did have tearing during delivery (which can result in painful sex) they can teach you ways to minimize scar formation and eliminate the pain associated with it. They can address issues like urinary incontinence, which are common, but definitely NOT normal once you have a baby. The sooner you address these issues, the easier they are to take care of. Urinary incontinence usually suggests a weakening of the support structures to the bladder which can be improved with the correct exercises.

A physical therapist can help address low back pain, hip pain, pubic joint pain and also instruct you in proper body mechanics and breathing to minimize stress to your already loosened joints and optimize healing. They can also check for a diastasis recti ( a separation of the abdominal muscles that is common during pregnancy) or other muscle weaknesses that may exist and help you get back into a safe exercise routine that will help to optimize your core strength and stability.

So…the take home message…if you have had a baby recently, or whether it has been several years, ask your physician to send you to a physical therapist that specializes in the pelvic floor or in working with pregnant women for at least 1 visit to make sure your healing is on the right track! If your only obstacle is finding childcare, don’t worry, most physical therapists will love the opportunity to meet you AND your baby, and don’t mind you bringing them along for your visits! (In fact, it helps us to get our baby fix!) Your body will thank you for it later…especially if you plan on becoming pregnant again in the future!

Written by: Kim Osler PT, DPT, WCS

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Sexuality during Pregnancy, Part 2: When will I be in the mood while I’m pregnant?

 

We’ve all heard that at some point during pregnancy women can have heightened sexual desire (Remember that scene from the movie Knocked Up?). Interestingly enough, this does tend to vary per person and is based on everything from hormones, to stressors, pain, and other pregnancy symptoms. For some women, pregnancy creates a new “spark” in their sexual relationships and for other women, the mood totally disappears.

Today’s post is Part 2 in a 3 Part Series on Sexuality during Pregnancy written by our awesome intern, Kerry McLaughlin, SPT. Please stay tuned next week for Part 3 on Sex during the Postpartum period.

Pregnant mother
 

Going along with our conversation last week on common questions regarding sex during pregnancy, many women find huge variances in sexual desire and arousal during pregnancy. These fluctuations vary during each trimester, but here are some great general things to know:

First Trimester: Most women experience a decrease in desire during the 1st trimester because of their primary symptoms of nausea and fatigue. Let’s be honest, it’s difficult to be “in the mood” when you’re constipated and about to vomit.

Second Trimester: The second trimester is where desire varies the most from woman to woman. Women can experience any of the three: increase, maintenance, or decrease (all of which are normal) during the second trimester. This is often attributed to increased blood flow to the pelvic region, increased sensitivity to the genitals and breasts, and increased vaginal discharge and moistness, all of which could add to pleasure during sex. Plus, this is the time when most of that nausea from the first trimester is decreasing, which would make anyone feel a little more ready for sexual intimacy.

Third Trimester: Women most often experience a decrease in both desire and function during the 3rd trimester. This is attributed to symptoms such as back pain, fatigue, hemorrhoids, decreased clitoral sensation, difficulty achieving orgasm, ligamentous laxity, and general discomfort that women feel towards the end of their pregnancy. At this point, the baby is growing significantly and those bellies are getting bigger each day. These changes can often play a huge role in comfort during sexual activity.

Emotional factors also take a toll on sex drive. Concerns about a woman’s pregnancy, the future with the new addition to your family, and changes in self-image all may weigh heavily on the minds of expecting women and may contribute to decreasing sex drive.

So, what about you? Did you find these changes occurring during your pregnancy?

Stay tuned next week as we continue this discussion with sexuality postpartum! Have a great week!

Pregnancy Seminar at our Greer clinic on July 22nd!

We are hosting our quarterly Pregnancy Seminar, this time in Greer, SC. If you are expecting, or trying to conceive, we would love to meet you and spend ~ 1.5 hours educating you on the journey you’re about to embark on. Light refreshments provided.

pregnancy

Location: Proaxis Therapy. 315 Medical Pkwy STE 150. Greer, SC 29650

Time: 6:30-8:00 PM

Joyful Birth

Come and check out the Joyful Birth and Breastfeeding Expo in Spartanburg, this Saturday at the WestGate mall. The Proaxis Pelvic PT team will be present from 10 AM-4 PM and would love to answer any questions you might have regarding pregnancy~

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Another Positive Pregnancy Experience

If you live in, or around the Greenville area and are expecting a bundle of joy… Come by Proaxis Physical Therapy located at 200 Patewood Dr, Suite 250 C on January 28th from 6:30-8:00 for a free seminar on all you need to know about staying in shape, managing pain, and preventing post-partum problems.

pregnancy

We will cover topics designed to keep you healthy and fit during your pregnancy and post-partum including:

  • Exercise guidelines during pregnancy
  • Nutrition during pregnancy
  • Preventing and managing low back and pelvic girdle pain
  • Pregnancy support and belts
  • Importance of pelvic floor exercise in preventing urinary incontinence
  • Returning to exercise after child birth
  • What to do about post-partum complications such as low back pain, urinary incontinence, and pelvic pain

RSVP to Kim.Osler@proaxistherapy.com

App of The Week

My new favorite…

Pregnant Dad Lite

Dad lite

Beside essential information regarding the growth and development of your little bugger, you will receive hints and tips how to survive as a man in this important 9 months period. Sliced in 2-3 bits per week it has the right amount of information for us men to follow. Maybe you could use some tips to make this time for you and your partner even more comfortable.

Positive Pregnancy

pregnancy

If you are pregnant, plan to be, or are a spouse of someone who IS pregnant and live in the Greenville area, the Proaxis Pelvic PT team would love to invite you to a FREE 2 hour seminar on Tuesday, September 17th from 6:00-8:00 pm. This event will be taking place at 200 Patewood Drive Suite 250 C, Greenville 29615.

We will cover topics designed to keep you healthy and fit during your pregnancy and postpartum. Education will include:

  • Exercise guidelines and returning to exercise after baby
  • Support belts and pain management strategies
  • What to do about postpartum challenges that may arise

Refreshments will be provided

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