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Peripartum Health

Optimizing Function During and After Pregnancy

Peripartum Health

What is the pelvic floor?

The pelvic floor is a sling of musculature located on the inside of your pelvis. Its job is to work with your deep abdominal, respiratory and back musculature- otherwise known as your core – to help stabilize your spine and support your organs. The pelvic floor muscles are paramount in the carriage and delivery of a baby, and are often weak, overly stretched, and/or not functioning properly after childbirth.

What is pelvic health?

Pelvic health is having good mobility, endurance, and patterning of the pelvic floor muscles. Proper coordination of the core provides the foundation for functional movements like squatting to lift your child out of the crib, carrying your child while doing errands, and running with your child, as well as physiological necessities like sneezing, laughing, and sexual function.

What are typical symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction and how does this relate to peripartum health?

Typical symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction include incontinence, pain with intercourse, difficulty voiding, back pain, and abnormal pelvic pressure to name a few. These symptoms may be the result of the way your body changes during pregnancy and childbirth, usually from a weak pelvic floor, trunk, and hip muscles; joint hypermobility; or dysfunctional breathing patterns. Physical therapy can help you to understand the pelvic floors connection with the body and can effectively treat the symptoms you may be experiencing.

What is ‘The Fourth Trimester’ and why is it important?

‘The Fourth Trimester’ is a new term coined by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists promoting continued medical care for postpartum mothers beyond the initial follow-up with their physician. This allows the mother to receive ongoing care to treat a variety of changes in her body. Although physical therapy has played a role in postpartum care for many years, this is a conceptual shift in the ongoing care and treatment of these new mothers that we are so excited about! At Avant Physical Therapy, we address ‘The Fourth Trimester’ in the same way we treat other injuries – finding where your body is not working optimally and tailoring our interventions accordingly to help you reach your pre & postpartum goals.

Pelvic floor physical therapy can:

  • Prioritize a healthy pelvic floor for a safe pregnancy and delivery
  • Adapt to the biomechanical changes undergone during pregnancy
  • Lessen the risk for postpartum pain, abdominal weakness, and incontinence
  • Provide guidance in returning to prepartum activities

To learn more about how Avant Physical Therapy can help you meet your goals, schedule an appointment now. Contact us at 206-686-4073 or request an appointment online today.

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