Why I think every woman should see a Physical Therapist after they have a baby.
No, it’s not because I am a physical therapist, but yes I am a physical therapist. I am a mom. And I am proud to be part of a group of superwomen whose bodies have the capacity to grow little humans, push them out of our vaginas or get them ripped out of our bellies, and then miraculously find the energy to get up and immediately pour our heart and soul into keeping these tiny humans alive. Meanwhile we go through such a critical time of healing with literally no guidance on what the heck to do. This is unacceptable!
I am now almost exactly one-year post-partum with my second daughter. My girls are exactly four years apart, could not be completely different, and my post-partum journeys with each of them couldn’t be different either. It has taken me four years to muster up the courage to write this blog and spread the word that I want to help women after they have a baby and I now feel confident enough to say that I have gained the skills and knowledge to start that process. Let me take you on a short journey of how I got here, which is of course after my personal experience with recovery after having two children. As a fellow mom, you know we all love in some way to share our experience with pregnancy and childbirth because for one, it’s insane and two it’s like a badge of honor to say, “Yeah that happened”. I will try to keep it short.
My first daughter- she arrives VERY quickly at full term after months (really years) of infertility treatments and months of bedrest. I had her naturally, no epidural, no clue how to push, end up having an episiotomy and she shoots out of me like a torpedo ripping me from one end to the other and end up with a spinal block and 1 hour of surgery to stitch me back together. That was fun. Should I be worried? That’s a lot of stitches down there, I can’t even sit! No change in post-partum plan. “6 week follow up is all you need and you’ll be back to your old self again in no time”- says the man in the mask. NOT. Nothing feels the same or quite right. I give myself some extra time to heal, start walking and then try to go back to my old workout classes to get my “core” and “pre-baby body” back in shape. It was terrible, all I would feel after the workout was more pain in my pelvic floor. So like any person does, I just stopped because it just didn’t feel right and then I just stopped working out all together. Fear avoidance is what we call that in the PT world. So then I decide it’s a good idea to have another baby (amnesia is real) while one male “lady doctor” literally told me I must be a glutton for punishment. No I just want another baby, that’s all.Second daughter- she’s a planned c-section, of course, because who in their right mind would try to push a baby out of that disaster that happened? And now I have this really interesting bellybutton that doesn’t go back in and this Frankenstein scar across my bikini line.
In hindsight, I first and foremost had no idea what to do and had no guidance on what is normal or abnormal, and I’m a Physical Therapist!! I know a heck of a lot about the body but I had no clue on what to do post-partum. I did it all backwards. I was trying to work on my core when my pelvic floor was a mess and then I basically gave myself a hernia in my belly button trying to do it. Then my second comes around and is a c-section and now I’m more focused on my pelvic floor and have all this weakness in my core. But now, I understand. I have more education and I have so much more to learn but I would love to share with you what I know and help you on your journey as a mom. I have become a Certified Post-Partum Corrective Exercise Specialist. I now understand what an appropriate progression is for a post-partum mom whether you had a vaginal delivery or a c-section. I understand when it’s safe and appropriate to return to running; how to optimize your posture and positioning with holding, wearing, lifting and nursing your baby; how to heal a diastasis; why you are leaking when you jump on that box during your CrossFit workout; and why my pelvic floor hurt so bad when I was doing those crunches in Barre class.
I want to empower women to carry your new post-baby body in the best capacity you can. I want to tell you that it is not ok that we pee when we jump on the trampoline with our kids. Wearing a corset and doing crunches is not going to heal your diastasis. That nagging lower back pain and belly pooch doesn’t have to be your new norm. And lastly, it’s not too late! You can work on this anytime—6 weeks if cleared, 6 years, 26 years later. I would love to help prevent the cascade of women aging with prolapse and incontinence and not accept it as the norm.
If you or any of your fellow mommy friends have:
• Just had a baby and have been cleared to exercise
• Continued pain or discomfort in your c-section scar
• Lower back pain
• Pubic symphysis pain
• Pelvic organ prolapse or a heavy feeling down there
• Diastasis rectus abdominus DRA (separated abdominal muscles)
• Leaking with sneezing, jumping, exercise or
• You just want to know a safe way to exercise and progress your strength so you don’t get these things later in life
Physical Therapy can help and I am a Physical Therapist and fellow mom that is here for you! Please come see me (Free 20 minute in person consult!) if you are living with these problems because, you don’t have to. I take most insurances (Inquire about cost and availability here!), many insurances don’t even require a doctor’s referral for therapy these days, but check with your plan. I offer reasonable cash pay rates and free 20-minute phone consultations to see if PT is a good fit for you at this time.
Questions? Contact us!