For a variety of reasons, women often seek pelvic floor physical therapy after birth as it comes highly recommended for its ability to improve a range of conditions. However, as awareness of its high efficacy in restoring normal functioning grows, many expectant mothers are wondering about the safety and potential benefits of getting this type of therapy during their pregnancy. Here is a look at what expectant mothers should know about pelvic floor therapy.
What Is Pelvic Floor Therapy?
Pelvic floor physical therapy is a type of treatment that follows the principles of physical therapy to safely recondition the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles work together with the corresponding ligaments and connective tissues to support pelvic organs, assist in bowel and bladder control, and contribute to sexual function. Because the tissues in the pelvic area are attached to the tailbone, sacrum and pelvis, they also impact posture and breathing.
Pelvic floor therapy is often recommended for issues such as chronic pelvic pain, pelvic organ prolapse, incontinence, difficulty with urination or bowel movement, endometriosis, and painful intercourse. Although many women’s first experience with pelvic floor therapy may come after giving birth, it is also highly suited to women with nonpregnancy-related issues. In fact, it can help some women avoid the need for surgery to correct pelvic organ prolapse, which is fairly common as women age.
Is Pelvic Floor Therapy Safe During Pregnancy?
Because this therapy involves moving the muscles of the pelvic floor, it is not unusual for women to wonder if it is a good idea during pregnancy as their baby is developing in the area or if the movements involved could put their baby at risk. Although pelvic floor physical therapy is indeed considered safe during pregnancy, patients should advise their therapist that they are pregnant beforehand so they can ensure they are carrying out appropriate exercises in a safe manner.
It is important to remain active throughout your pregnancy to keep up your strength and flexibility. While you should never overexert yourself, many exercises are not only safe but also recommended during pregnancy, and this includes many of the movements in pelvic floor therapy.
Moreover, pelvic floor therapy is under the careful guidance of trained professionals who can ensure you are using the correct form. Your physical therapist can show you safe movements, activities, and exercises that can help you during your pregnancy and give you advice on modifying them as your pregnancy progresses and your pelvic region must support an increasing amount of weight.
How Can Pelvic Floor Therapy Help During Pregnancy?
Pelvic floor therapy is very useful during pregnancy, and many of its greatest benefits are preventive in nature. It is normal to wonder how your body will recover from pregnancy and childbirth, and this therapy can be thought of as providing a helping hand toward a speedier recovery.
Maintaining Proper Posture
For example, pelvic floor therapy helps women learn and maintain the proper posture and techniques for daily living to prevent discomfort and injuries during pregnancy, such as lifting heavy objects safely and entering and exiting vehicles. It can prevent many of the issues women experience following birth, such as prolapse, urinary incontinence, and the abnormal abdominal separation known as diastasis recti.
It can also provide women with strategies and positions for getting a better night’s sleep, which will remain important throughout your pregnancy as well as in the first months with a newborn as you adjust to your new reality. Proper sleep plays an outsized role in mental and physical recovery after childbirth.
Strengthening Pelvic Floor Muscles
Perhaps the biggest benefit of this therapy, however, is its ability to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which experience great strain during pregnancy and childbirth. This helps your body to cope with the growing weight of your baby safely and comfortably. In addition, muscles that are fit and healthy before birth will heal quicker after birth.
When your pelvic floor muscles are weakened, you could leak urine when sneezing, coughing, or straining. Known as stress incontinence, this is not uncommon after pregnancy. Many women think it is just one of the side effects of childbirth that they have to get through, but pelvic floor exercises can help you minimize or avoid this inconvenient and sometimes embarrassing problem.
With pelvic floor physical therapy, it can also help to alleviate common types of pregnancy pain. For example, it can address and treat postural pain, pelvic pain, lower back pain, and hip pain. It also helps women prepare for labor by learning birthing positions and strategies for breathing and relaxing the pelvic floor.
Discuss Pelvic Floor Therapy With Women’s Healthcare Professionals
Whether you are planning to start a family, are currently pregnant, or have recently given birth, pelvic floor therapy offers an array of preventive and curative benefits. Get in touch with the women’s healthcare professionals at Raleigh Gynecology & Wellness today to find out if it is a viable solution for you.