Part 4 – What are some common postpartum concerns? 

Since I started practicing Pelvic Floor physiotherapy in 2009 I have noticed some common concerns that postpartum moms express to me. 

  • Urinary or bowel leakage
  • Flatulence
  • Pressure and heaviness in the vagina or rectum (prolapse)
  • Constipation
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Hip, pelvis, shoulder, wrist, hand upper, and lower back pains.
  • Fatigue

The majority of these concerns are felt after vaginal delivery, but they can also occur after a c-section delivery.  This may be a surprise, but the main difference between the two methods of delivery is which muscles encounter greater strain.  The pelvic floor undergoes further strain with a vaginal delivery and the abdominal muscles undergo further strain with a c-s section delivery.  The recovery time of the strained soft tissue remains the same.  Most women are told that they can resume regular activities at 6 weeks because they will not be at risk of tearing their stitches or incision and also the uterus has most likely restored to its normal state.  How to get back to regular activities without injuring or straining your body is not emphasized at the 6-week check-up. Even if you were active during your entire pregnancy the emphasis on rest and sedentary habits for the first 6 weeks postpartum, can really decondition the muscles, bones, and cardiovascular system.  A pelvic floor physiotherapist can help guide you back to your activities safely.

How can Pelvic floor physiotherapy help?

Help depends on the individual patient’s concerns and goals.  If a patient comes in with any of the above-listed concerns a detailed assessment needs to be completed.  In some instances, the assessment will take 1-3 visits to completely address all the concerns.  Most of the concerns above would need to involve treatments that educate on daily habits of hydration, nutrition, toileting, sleep, and mental health.  These treatments can often be addressed by talking with the patient.  Often the discussion will cover current complaints, medical history, and the overall impact that the patient concern is having on their quality of life.  The additional parts of the assessment will likely entail addressing gross and functional movements, muscular function, joint mobility, muscular flexibility, and certain aspects of the motor and sensory neurological system.  Once the information gathered from the physical aspects of the assessment is evaluated, it is likely both physical exercise and manual therapy will be recommended as treatment options as well as more education and behavioral modifications.

If you have never included a pelvic floor physiotherapist in your healthcare team, it might be the next step to helping you recover.

Book Now to see Leona Ham BSc. P.T,  Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist.