Posted on Aug 24, 2020
Posted in: Specialty Treatments
A woman’s body is capable of remarkable things- pregnancy being one of the most awe-inspiring of them all. The ability to adapt, support, and provide nourishment from the moment of conception to the moment of childbirth is an incredulous feat. But with the changes that the body goes through during a pregnancy, comes the discomfort and pain that you may experience during those nine months.
About four years ago we published a blog post about physical therapy during pregnancy, and as it becomes more popular we thought we would take the time to expand on some of that information – like the root causes of pain during pregnancy, benefits of PT, and what to expect in a session. In this new post, we will also hear from an actual patient who utilized PT sessions at Peak Performance both before and after delivering her baby.
One of the great things about physical therapy is that it is common for sessions to be covered by your insurance! This takes the financial burden off of the expectant mother, allowing her to fully embrace her physical therapy journey as she adapts to her evolving body.
Before we dive in, here is a quick look at some of the main points from our previous blog post, which you can find here:
PT During Pregnancy
In prenatal mothers, a major cause of pain and discomfort comes from the added weight put on as the baby grows and develops. In a domino effect, the center of gravity changes, as well as the woman’s posture as her body responds. This can then put stress on the lower back, as well as the pelvic floor muscles, which is a common problem in moms-to-be. In an article from Intimina, they write that “During pregnancy the pelvic floor supports the extra weight of the baby, and then it helps in pushing the baby through the vagina during childbirth”. Pelvic floor strengthening exercises are one of the ways in which Peak Performance works to prepare women for the strain that pregnancy and childbirth have on their body. These sessions are tailored to each individual woman to assist in maintaining the strength of those muscles.
To address the weight and posture changes that arise during pregnancy that can cause lower back pain and decreased flexibility, sessions can include stretching, abdominal strengthening, bracing, postural education and exercises, and much more! There are other ways to address the pain you are experiencing as well. On our Physical Therapy and Pregnancy page you can also find tips and advice on how to adjust to your changing body in addition to attending PT sessions.
Physical Therapy after Childbirth
In postpartum mothers, we recommend attending at least one to two PT sessions to rehab the muscles after the trauma of labor, and the pregnancy as a whole. If the birth was by means of vaginal delivery, mothers can start as soon as 2-4 weeks post-birth, and if it was a cesarean delivery, new mothers can attend 4-6 weeks post-op (if given clearance from your medical advisor).
Physical therapy, postpartum, gives women a chance to get their bodies back to feeling, and moving great with daily and recreational activities. A large part of that recovery has to do with postpartum posture care and body mechanics. As a baby develops over the course of those nine months, so do the ways in which a woman functions. From sleeping, to sitting, to lifting, to physical changes that are difficult to see, there are many reasons why PT should be a necessity after childbirth.
Physical therapy sessions strengthen your muscles, boost flexibility, and reduce or eliminate abdominal separation that may have occurred during pregnancy which can help alleviate some of the added stress on your spine. By strengthening your body, you ultimately provide the foundation for a faster, and more thorough recovery, meaning you get to spend more time with your newborn, without pain or discomfort.
Q&A Time with a Peak Performance Patient
Q: How far into your pregnancy were you before experiencing any pain or discomfort?
“I was around 20 weeks or about half-way through my pregnancy when I started experiencing quite a bit of pain and discomfort.”
Q: How did you come across PT as a source for alleviating said pain or discomfort?
“Right before I began my third trimester, I had brought up to my OB how much discomfort and pain I was having at that point. I was seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis and it wasn’t helping to the extent I was hoping. She recommended PT and referred me to Nikki at Peak Performance.”
Q: If willing to share, what was the source of that pain or discomfort?
“A lot of the pain and discomfort stemmed from my lower back. I also had some pain in my third trimester that sourced from round ligaments.”
Q: Were you recommended by a primary care physician, OB/GYN, or other source?
Q: How many sessions of PT did you attend? Were they covered by your insurance?
“I believe I attended around 12 sessions of PT during pregnancy. They were all covered by insurance.”
“Yes, PT definitely helped alleviate a lot of discomfort and pain overall. Even when I had pain or discomfort flare ups, I was able to utilize the things I learned through PT to help alleviate those.”
Q: After giving birth, did you ever utilize PT for postpartum pain or discomfort?
“Yes. I have had issues in the past with arthritis/bulging discs which had actually gotten worse after pregnancy than they were prior to pregnancy. I was referred backed to PT by my rheumatologist around 8 months postpartum.”
Q: Anything else you feel would be beneficial for expectant or new mothers to know about PT for pregnancy?
“Don’t be afraid to talk to your healthcare provider during pregnancy and/or after about any pain or discomfort you are experiencing. Don’t hesitate to ask if they think PT would be a good option for you.”
To all the mothers out there: You have to care for yourself and your body first, in order to unconditionally care for your child!
Peak Performance physical therapy sessions are a proven way to decrease the pain and discomfort on your body during pregnancy or even strengthen your body postpartum. At the first sign of strain or affliction, talk to your primary care physician or OB/GYN about attending physical therapy sessions. And remember, physical therapy is a medically based profession so the likelihood of your sessions being covered by your insurance policy is very high.
Call (920) 738-0671 to book an appointment, ask questions, or see if physical therapy is something you could benefit from as an expectant or postpartum mother (chances are you will)! Or request an appointment online.
Special note: Thank you to Mikayla Sullivan, digital marketing student at the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh for helping our team as the author of this blog post.