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Pregnancy and Post-Partum Related Pelvic Health Tips

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By Kristin Kenny, PT, DPT

Not many people realize that there are physical therapists specially trained in pelvic floor rehabilitation. These therapists are available to help both men and women suffering from conditions such as incontinence (urinary or fecal), constipation, pelvic pain or dysfunction (including vaginal, urethral, perineal, rectal, scrotal or abdominal), pregnancy-related problems, post-surgical pain or dysfunction, erectile dysfunction, and prolapse.

We are proud to say that two of our ARC Physical Therapy clinics feature pelvic floor therapists (Westmont and Orland Park). Over the next month, Kristin Kenny (one of our Pelvic Floor Physical Therapists), will share some specific pelvic floor health tips.

Pregnancy and Post-Partum Related Pelvic Health Tips:

  • Lower back or abdominal discomfort in pregnancy can be eased by use of support belts (for sacroiliac joint support or abdomen support)- ask a pelvic floor physical therapist which support belt may offer you the most relief.
  • Postural tips and changes in pregnancy and post-partum may help reduce or prevent back pain, neck pain or leg pain. If you are experiencing pain/difficulty, please consult a pelvic floor physical therapist for tips on improving body mechanics and strength to ease your symptoms.
  • You should not experience abdominal pain with exercise or childcare. If you do, you could have an abdominal muscle separation. Here’s how to check: Place fingers perpendicular to midline (muscle runs breastbone to pubic bone), lift head and see how many fingers you can sink in, normal is 0-1 fingertips. Test at belly button, 2 inches above and 2 inches below.
  • Wearing a binder for the first 6-8 weeks post-partum is a great way to help abdominal muscles heal and come back together and support your lower back during daily activities.
  • You should not leak urine if you cough, sneeze or laugh (unless you are pregnant, then that baby can indeed jump on your bladder).
  • To perform a Kegel correctly (doctors don’t always explain this one well!) tighten your pelvic floor muscles like you are going to pull a tampon up and in (or you can try with your finger) or stop the flow of urine or gas without squeezing buttocks or tightening abdominals. Hold 5-10 seconds 5-10 times, and 10 quick (no hold) contract and relax contractions.  1-2 x /day. Stop if you are unable to tell if you are contracting or relaxing.
  • To prevent leaking urine, perform a Kegel or squeeze your heels together before you cough, laugh or sneeze.
  • If you have an episiotomy or Cesarean section, once stitches have healed (usually within 6 weeks), you can begin massaging scar tissue to prevent restrictions and improve / normalize scar sensitivity. Work in all directions to assure that scar tissue allows movement in all directions. For more detailed tips please ask a pelvic floor physical therapist.
  • Clogged milk ducts can be treated with heat, ultrasound and massage and treatments can provide pain relief. If you are experiencing this discomfort, ask your physician for a script to see a pelvic floor / women’s health physical therapist.

To talk with a therapist regarding your pelvic floor related questions, please call us at (630) 323-8646.

Suggested similar articles:

-bowel related pelvic health tips

-pelvic pain related health tips

-urinary related pelvic health tips


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