Be Kind to Your Post-Baby Body With Women's Health Physical Therapy

Post-Baby Body Women's Health Physical Therapy

When you’re pregnant, it’s easy to think the only change that’s happening to your body is that growing belly. But while your belly might be the most obvious change, it’s absolutely not the only alteration that’s taking place. Your body is being subjected to a slew of hormonal changes as well, including hormones that can affect your mood, your skin, your sleep — even your musculoskeletal system (yep, there’s a hormone that actually makes your pelvic bones more flexible to aid during labor).

At the same time, as your belly grows, your center of gravity is thrown off, and that excess weight starts to exert a lot of pressure on your pelvic floor muscles. And that’s just during pregnancy. Once delivery starts, the strain on those muscles can become intense, both during contractions and when it’s time to push. That’s a lot of wear and tear, and it’s no surprise that it can take a while to fully recover afterward. In some cases, recovery can take months or years. Some women wind up experiencing chronic symptoms like bladder leakage, low back pain, sciatica, chronic pelvic pain, and strained abdominal muscles — symptoms that can wind up taking a toll on their health, their well-being, and even their daily activities.

At One Accord Physical Therapy, we help our patients relieve the uncomfortable symptoms that can occur following pregnancy — restoring muscle tone and improving flexibility, strength, and function for better health and a better quality of life. Here’s how we can help.

Chronic post-pregnancy symptoms

Pregnancy may be a perfectly natural occurrence, but it still takes a major toll on a woman's body. Here are some of the most common postpartum health issues and how women's health physical therapy can help.

Low back pain

During pregnancy, as your belly grows, extra strain is placed on your core muscles and on your lower back. Your pelvis tilts forward, and over time, that added strain stretches muscles, ligaments, and tendons, all of which can contribute to nagging lower back pain, even after you've given birth. 

Sciatica

Sciatica is a painful condition that occurs when the sciatic nerve is irritated, causing pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness extending from your lower back and into your hips, buttocks, and even your legs. Your sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body, and it actually has two branches, one of which travels down each leg. The same strains that cause lower back pain can also cause sciatica. As your back and pelvis tilt forward, the spongy discs between your spine bones can slip out of position, pressing on the sciatic nerve and causing irritation and pain. Inflammation around the disc can make these symptoms worse.

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD)

SPD is a major cause of pelvic pain for women following pregnancy, and during pregnancy too. As the ligaments around your pelvis relax, your pelvis can shift out of its normal position. Even though this relaxation effect is normal during pregnancy, many women experience significant pain in and around the pelvis, possibly as a result of muscle impingement or joint friction — and the symptoms can occur after pregnancy too.

Bladder leakage

The added strain on your pelvic floor muscles (the muscles that support your uterus and your bladder) can cause them to stretch, too. Many women experience some type of bladder leakage following pregnancy, and sometimes, changes in the pelvic floor muscles can lead to pain and other serious problems.

Diastasis recti

This is a condition that causes your abdominal muscles to weaken and even separate — again, thanks to that growing belly. Diastasis recti is more common in women who've had multiple pregnancies, but it can occur after a single pregnancy as well.

How women's health physical therapy can help

As a leader in women's health physical therapy, One Accord Physical Therapy focuses on restoring your body to normal function and health. We use a holistic approach that starts with an exam and evaluation of your symptoms so we can tailor a program specifically for you. Depending on your needs, your PT program might include therapeutic stretching, special exercises, spinal manipulation, breathing and relaxation exercises, dry needling, and even biofeedback to help you tap into your body's natural ability to heal. Plus, we provide patients with information and education about their condition, their needs, and their treatment so they can take a proactive role every step of the way.

If you're experiencing painful, uncomfortable, or unusual symptoms after your pregnancy, there are solutions that can help you feel better. To find out how women's health physical therapy can help you, contact the practice today.

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