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

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~

Print

 

 

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

Positive Pregnancy

pregnancy2

Positive Pregnancy

The Women’s Health Team will be hosting a free 1 hour pregnancy class for the public on Tuesday, May 14th from 6:30-7:30 at Patewood II.

If you have any pregnant friends or family, please feel free to pass this along. RSVP’s are not necessary, but appreciated since we will be providing light snacks and want to get an accurate head count. In addition if you are not pregnant, but would just like to come and learn more about it, we would love to have you.

  • Topics are geared towards the general public, but will include an overview of pregnancy, nutrition during pregnancy, exercise recommendations as well as specific exercises, post-partum issues and of course, the pelvic floor!

RSVP’s are to kim.osler@proaxistherapy.com

 

App of The Week

Web MD Pregnancy

preg_3screen1

WebMD Pregnancy is a FREE app from WebMD that delivers trusted health information to expectant moms as well as fun features and tools. Whenever. Wherever. Online or offline. Whether you’re trying to conceive or preparing for your special day, WebMD can help. Check out hundreds of doctor-approved multimedia information and advice tailored to each week of pregnancy.

What To Expect AFTER You’re Expecting

This weekend we had the great opportunity to share our services with over 200 pregnant women at the annual Babytown event where we discussed how to treat pregnancy related pain and post-partum problems. Unfortunately, many women are under the assumption that leaking a little urine (or a lot!) when they cough or sneeze is just a “normal” consequence of having babies. Because of this, some women may go for years with these bothersome symptoms before they seek help. But I’m here to tell you, it’s not something that you just have to “live with”! I can’t tell you how many women we see who have been suffering in silence who tell us “I wish I would’ve known about you guys 20 years ago after I had my kids!”. So, along those lines in case you are expecting a baby, have recently given birth, or had your “babies” years ago, here is a little summary of what’s “normal” and what’s not when it comes to post-partum problems. If any of them sound familiar to you, consider speaking with your doctor about them and making an appointment with a pelvic floor physical therapist who can help to address your needs. Whether you’ve been experiencing symptoms for 10 days or 10 years, it’s never too late to make a difference and get your life back!

Urine leakage/Incontinence:
Having a baby can cause trauma to the nerves and muscles of the pelvic floor, the group of muscles responsible for supporting your bladder, uterus and rectum. Because of this, small amounts of urine leakage may occur for a few weeks following the birth of your baby, which you may notice particularly when you cough, laugh or sneeze. However, leakage that persists for more than a few weeks following childbirth is not normal, and may signal underlying weakness in your pelvic floor muscles. If you experience urine leakage, speak with your doctor and consider seeing a pelvic floor therapist to teach you correct exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor. The sooner you address the leakage, the easier it will be to correct. Remember it is not something that you “just have to live with”!

Painful Intercourse:
After you have your baby your doctor will likely have you refrain from intercourse for 6 weeks until you have time to fully heal. Some women find once they get around to resuming sexual relations again that sex is painful, and no longer as enjoyable. Pain with sex is not normal and can happen for a variety of reasons. Hormonal changes to the tissues (lack of estrogen, especially while you are nursing), scarring from tearing or episiotomies, muscle spasm, and just a general lack of desire (chalk it up to not sleeping through the night and caring for an infant all day long!) can all be factors which contribute to pain with intercourse. If you find that you are experiencing painful intercourse, speak with your doctor and consider seeing a pelvic floor therapist who can address the source of your pain, making intercourse enjoyable again.

Low Back and Pelvic Pain:
Many factors can contribute to low back and pelvic pain post-partum. Hormones that circulated during pregnancy causing loosening of joints and ligaments may still be present post-partum. Your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor may be stretched and weakened from pregnancy and not able to provide appropriate support to your low back and pelvis. In addition, you are likely lifting and carrying a new infant constantly during the day which may also place strain on your low backs and hips, especially if not done correctly. If you are experiencing discomfort, consider seeing a physical therapist to address your pain. She can instruct you in proper body mechanics for lifting and carrying your child which can help decrease pain, and give you safe exercises to strengthen your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor.

Any Windows 8 Users?
Check out the Mayo Clinic Pregnancy App

Written by: Kim Osler PT, DPT, WCS, LCEE

%d bloggers like this: