This blog was written by our friend and local pelvic floor physical therapist, Dr. Betty DeLass, PT, DPT. Betty is the owner and founder of Reborn Pelvic Health & Wellness, a practice that specializes in pelvic floor therapy during pregnancy, as well as before and after pregnancy.
Should I get pelvic floor therapy during pregnancy?
Short answer: Yes!!! 100%
We recommend this to everyone! And until every pregnant person gets sent to pelvic floor physical therapy as standard of care, we will continue shouting it from the rooftops!
Let’s dive in a little deeper with this topic and discuss WHY it is important to see a pelvic floor physical therapist during pregnancy:
Reason #1: Growing a baby and then birthing said baby (or babies!) is an ATHLETIC EVENT!
Yes, you heard that right. Even if you don’t consider yourself an “athlete”, you are getting ready to participate in a very real athletic event. The amount of changes that happen to your body physically during labor and birth are huge! Your body is changing and growing throughout pregnancy, and it is also preparing to birth a baby. Labor and delivery could take anywhere from hours to days, and it is hard work! Physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually challenging. Pelvic floor physical therapy can help prepare you for that event from a strength and endurance perspective.
Reason #2: Lower back pain, pubic symphysis pain (SPD), SI pain, sciatica, etc. during pregnancy are common, but they don’t have to be.
Pregnancy has a way of bringing out aches and pains that are hidden below the surface that we may not have known about before. Oftentimes, the symptoms that reveal themselves during pregnancy are highlighting areas of your body that need attention. If someone ever tells you, “oh, that’s just part of being pregnant or “that’s normal for pregnancy” or “that will go away when you have the baby.” Run! Run as fast as you can to your nearest and dearest pelvic floor physical therapist. We are the experts in helping you navigate these aches and pains and resolve and restore function where needed. You do not need to live with it just “because you are pregnant.” You don’t have to suffer in silence. There is hope and there is healing. We can get to the root of the problem and help you resolve it for good!
Reason #3: Prehab.
We know from research in other areas of physical therapy that if you do prehab (aka- rehab before) you have better outcomes. Why would we not apply this to birth? Many of the mom’s we see at Reborn Pelvic Health & Wellness during pregnancy end up having wonderful birthing experiences. What we do in pelvic floor rehab is help prepare the body for birth, teach and perform techniques for perineal stretching, teach positioning during delivery to help open the pelvis, and work on optimizing your pelvic floor for birth. Oftentimes, things both inside the pelvis and outside of the pelvis can impact how the pelvic floor moves and functions.
Reason #4: Improve body awareness.
We help our pregnant patients become the experts of their own bodies by teaching and educating them about what is going on, how things are connected, and how to intrinsically feel and activate certain muscles. We empower you so that you can be the expert of your own body!
Reason #5: Your uterus pushes your baby out.
Your uterus pushes your baby out, not your pelvic floor. It is a common misconception that the pelvic floor needs to be strong to help with delivery of the baby and that you need to do your “kegels” to prepare for birth. Well, there is more to it than that. Your pelvic floor being strong is part of it, but it also needs to be able to move. The pelvic floor actually needs to move down and out of the way for the baby to come through. Let’s make sure that is happening! 🙂
Reason #6: Prevention.
Now, we cannot prove this with substantial research yet (hopefully someday there will be more research out there!), but clinically, we see it all the time. We see our patients have less tearing and lower c-section rates. Why is this? Because we are doing “prehab” and getting the body optimized and ready for delivering that baby. Just like you would train for a marathon, we can help you train for birth from a pelvic floor physical therapy stand point. Additionally, we help a lot of our pregnant patients have successful VBACs (vaginal delivery after cesarean). All of this is because we help optimize the musculoskeletal side of things in and outside of the pelvis that contribute to successful birth outcomes!
Reason #7: Collect baseline data on you and your body.
We are also able to work with you to collect data about how your body is moving and functioning before and during pregnancy and that allows us to better serve you postpartum. We are on the team with you to help create a successful environment for the long haul. As clinicians, the more we know about you, the better the care we can provide you. Quite often you’ll find that your care provider will only see you 1-2 times in the first six weeks after birth. That just isn’t enough! This is where pelvic floor physical therapy comes in. In the immediate postpartum period, pelvic floor physical therapists help address the musculoskeletal changes that occur during pregnancy and get you moving in the right direction towards whatever your goals are for movement, exercise, and daily life after having had your baby. We are your preconception, pregnancy and postpartum experts!
It is never too early or too late to start seeing a pelvic floor specialist. Of course, in a perfect world, we would love to see people during preconception. However, your pelvic floor is with you for life. If this is something you wish you would have known about before or had an opportunity to do, you can still benefit and we are here to help!
Feel free to set up a free phone consultation with one of our expert pelvic floor physical therapists and we can help you along your journey to live your life to the fullest with an optimal vagina! https://pteverywhere.com/PtE/rebornphw/bookingonline
Please help spread the word! Let’s get every pregnant person the care they deserve!
NOTE: If you have any medical conditions that require you to be on pelvic rest and/or not to have a pelvic exam done then you would not be appropriate to see during pregnancy for pelvic floor physical therapy. Please consult with your medical providers.
This blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. It is for educational purposes only. Please consult a qualified health care practitioner before you start any new program. Not every exercise is safe for every person. Correct execution of all exercises is imperative to prevent injury. Please consult your healthcare professional if you have questions about exercise execution or if an exercise or pelvic floor physical therapy is right for you.
You are responsible for yourself and will not hold Elizabeth DeLass or Reborn Pelvic Health & Wellness, LLC liable for any illness or injury.