Pregnancy is an exciting time of growth and changes while anticipating the birth of your little one.  Pregnancy related changes may create common aches and discomforts limiting you from being able to do normal, everyday activities. These ailments, including pain during pregnancy or postpartum may impact your active lifestyle or create unexpected limitations. If this occurs, you should consider pelvic floor physical therapy. Whether you are a first-time mom and are experiencing issues after childbirth or you are someone who has lived with postpartum pain for years, you do not have to be limited by your condition.

At Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation, our knowledgeable physical therapists offer a variety of innovative treatments that can relieve pain, increase overall strength and coordination to return you to the activities you enjoy and love. Our goal is to maintain mom’s active lifestyle so she may encourage her child in a wellness lifestyle.  Memorial Hermann’s dynamic team of physical therapists, nurses, uro-gynecologists, obstetricians, gynecologists, and urologists collaborate with you to create your treatment plan, returning you to optimal health and wellness.

Physical Therapy During Pregnancy

If you experience activity intolerance, pain, weakness or core instability during pregnancy, consult your OB-GYN about undergoing a prenatal physical therapy program. Most physical ailments experienced during pregnancy can be relieved through body mechanics training, relaxation techniques, manual therapy and therapeutic taping, as well as stretching, and strengthening exercises with a focus on anticipating pregnancy related posture changes. Memorial Hermann’s Prenatal/Postpartum Health Program can support you during your pregnancy and provide relief.

How to Benefit from Physical Therapy During Pregnancy

Many new moms are concerned about preparing themselves for a smooth pregnancy and delivery.  Others may be impacted by the following conditions, and would benefit from receiving prenatal physical therapy:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Rib pain
  • Pelvic floor weakness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Posture dysfunction
  • Endometriosis
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Foot or ankle pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Hip pain  
  • Pain with intercourse/intimacy
  • Leaking urine with coughing, sneezing, running or jumping
  • Urgency to use the restroom
  • Fecal incontinence, including accidental leaking of gas

Please feel free to ask about other conditions that you may have developed to determine physical therapy’s full impact.

Undergoing physical therapy can help relieve pain, stabilize pregnancy “waddle” and make everyday tasks, such as cleaning a bathtub or bending down to pick something up, manageable and pain-free.

Why Stretching and Strengthening is Important During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, the pelvis widens, and ligaments become loose due to a hormone called Relaxin. Your weight distribution changes, and may result in back, rib and pelvic pain as well as core instability. This can affect the way you live, as well as your body’s performance during childbirth.

Seeing a physical therapist for wellness and optimal functioning can benefit you for years to come. Pelvic floor weakness can lead to problems during menopause. By learning how to optimize your strength and stability during pregnancy, you are not only equipping your body to handle childbirth in the best way possible, but you are also preparing it for future changes.

Types of Prenatal Physical Therapy

In Memorial Hermann’s Prenatal/Postpartum Health Program, our physical therapists offer a variety of services and manual therapy techniques. Prenatal physical therapy services include:

  • Postural education
  • Behavioral retraining 
  • Therapeutic taping 
  • Therapeutic exercise 
  • Bracing assessment and fitting 
  • Patient education about your condition and how to live your best (which includes how to live well on bedrest and a variety of prenatal limitations) 
  • Prenatal wellness education
  • Prenatal exercises 
  • Pain relief
  • Pubic symphysis pain
  • Care-related pain

Our manual therapy techniques include:

  • Visceral manipulation 
  • Skin rolling 
  • Dangling
  • Manual treatment including soft tissue techniques and myofascial release
  • Instrumented release 
  • Perineal massage 
  • Biofeedback (sEMG) during which a video screen allows you to see when specific muscles activate
  • Real-time ultrasound during which a video screen allows you to see your muscles activate and relax 
  • TENs for pain control/relief

Our physical therapists may advise you on different labor or positioning techniques, as well as educate your partner—should you choose to include them—on at-home techniques and exercises.

Physical Therapy After Pregnancy

No matter if you have just given birth this year or you have been a mom for years, if you are living with pain or unable to participate in everyday activities or are experiencing changes that might not have been present during pregnancy, it’s time It’s time to talk to your doctor about a postpartum physical therapy program. A physical therapy plan that includes proper exercise and stretching that may alleviate the conditions you are suffering from. Feeling better does not always require surgery or medication, and Memorial Hermann’s skilled physical therapists can help you determine if you can get relief through a postpartum physical therapy program.

What You May Begin Noticing After Childbirth

After childbirth, you might begin noticing pain where you have never had it before, particularly in your core and pelvic floor. Sitting might be miserable, or you may experience muscle spasms or cramping. If you went through an instrumented birth, you might be suffering from a temporary nerve injury. If you underwent a C-section, you might feel pain and discomfort where your belly folds over the incision. A variety of changes can happen immediately or even years after childbirth. 

How Physical Therapy Can Help after Baby

Physical therapy can provide relief of pain and stress after childbirth. Your core and pelvic floor were weakened during pregnancy and childbirth. Not only can physical therapy help strengthen your body, but it can help retrain muscles that have moved or nerves that have been damaged as a result of labor. It can help you sit comfortably again if your tailbone was impacted during childbirth. Physical therapy can help retrain scar tissue so it heals properly and comfortably after a C-section.

Types of Postpartum Physical Therapy

The services and manual therapy techniques offered to prenatal patients above are also available to postpartum patients. Additionally, we provide education on ergonomics so you can get in and out of the car without pain and lift and carry your baby, as well as older children, properly. We also provide ultrasounds to determine if you may have clogged milk ducts and can train you on postpartum massage techniques.

What to Expect Before, During and After Your Sessions

Before your first session, plan to arrive early to complete paperwork. Your first appointment will be a consultation to assess your current condition and to educate you—and your partner, if you choose to include them—on your treatment. Appointments are typically an hour.

During your sessions, wear comfortable clothes that don’t restrict any physical movements. You will receive information packets, as well as at-home exercises to do on your own. As a patient, you will also receive access to a program (available on your smartphone or desktop) that will lead you through these at-home exercises. 

After your sessions, you might experience some soreness. Drink plenty of water after each session to reduce the risk of cramping.

Why Choose Memorial Hermann to Treat Pain During and After Pregnancy?

With many Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation locations in and around Greater Houston, you can find the relief you need through prenatal and postpartum physical therapy close to home. Talk to your physician for a referral, and schedule your initial evaluation online with ScheduleNow today.

For patients who want to feel more comfortable during and after pregnancy. Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation's Prenatal/Postnatal Health Program provides early intervention for patients who are likely to experience musculoskeletal issues during and after pregnancy. Our program is designed for women with activity intolerance, pain, weakness or core instability.

Most physical ailments experienced during pregnancy can be treated with physical therapy which includes relaxation techniques, proper body mechanics and stretching and strengthening exercises.

After childbirth, some women may notice changes that might have not been present during pregnancy. A physical therapy plan that includes a proper exercise and stretching program may alleviate these conditions.

Interventions are based on a comprehensive musculoskeletal evaluation and physician prescription. They range from exercise-based home programs to a formal program of physical therapy.

Prenatal/Postnatal Physical Therapy Services

  • Musculoskeletal and postural assessment
  • Manual mobilization for lumbopelvic alignment
  • Heat, massage, stretching
  • Home exercise programs
  • ADL safety training
  • Patient education

Benefits

Benefits of prenatal and postnatal therapy include:

  • Improved joint mobility
  • Correction of muscle imbalance
  • Improved body balance
  • Better postural alignment
  • Greater relaxation
  • Stress relief

Patients who will benefit from pre- and post-natal therapy include those with:

  • Backache
  • Generalized spine pain
  • Hip pain
  • Joint disorder/difficulty walking
  • Lumbago
  • Lumbosacral radiculitis
  • Lumbar sprain/strain
  • Muscle spasm
  • Musculoskeletal strain
  • Low back/ pelvis
  • Groin/ thigh
  • Neck pain
  • Pelvic instability and/or pain
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Sacroiliac ligament strain
  • Sciatica
  • Broad Ligament Pain
  • Diastasis Recti
  • Endometriosis
  • Posture Dysfunction
  • Pubic Symphysis Separation/Subluxation
  • Round Ligament pain
  • Ergonomics & body mechanics during pregnancy and post-partum
  • Back pain
  • Sciatica
  • Carpal Tunnel
  • Rib pain
  • Neck pain
  • C-Section scar, episiotomy, or perineal tear
  • Pelvic floor weakness
  • Urinary or fecal incontinence
  • Urinary urgency

Ready for Relief?

If you’re interested in finding relief through physical or occupational therapy, the licensed therapists at Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation are here to help. Request an initial evaluation appointment with one of our physical or occupational therapists by filling out the form on this below or calling call (713) 521-0020 or 1-888-301-8477.

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You!

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