During pregnancy (prepartum), your body undergoes a great number of changes. Your weight may increase, and parts of your body will start to take on a greater amount of strain. Your abdominal wall and pelvic muscles will adjust themselves to make room for your baby. This can lead to pain while performing certain movements or holding certain positions such as sitting for long periods of time. Conditions such as pubis symphysis dysfunction and urinary incontinence can be attributed to these kinds of changes in the body during pregnancy. Having pelvic floor therapy done during pregnancy can better prepare women’s bodies during childbirth.
After giving birth (postpartum), pelvic floor treatment is also very beneficial. A significant number of women suffer from pelvic organ prolapse and/or diastasis of the abdominis rectus – the separation of the abdominal muscles. Another issue that many women face after childbirth is the tearing of the perineum from an episiotomy. Getting treatment after giving birth can ensure a faster recovery and correct any musculoskeletal dysfunctions.
Your Pelvic Floor and Pregnancy.
The pelvic floor is comprised of a number of muscles that are responsible for providing support of the pelvic organs. The pelvic organs include the urinary bladder, intestines, and for women – the uterus. The pelvic floor controls the release of urine or excrement. Although pelvic floor dysfunction can occur in both men and women, this condition is far more common in women, especially those who are pregnant or have given birth.
Pelvis and Pelvic Floor Muscles Top Down View. Click here for Original Source:
Common Conditions Treated
Weak pelvic floor muscles may be the reason you suffer from Low Back Pain. When we think of our body’s core muscles, we normally imagine pronounced six-pack abs. Our core is much more than this, though. The best way to imagine our body’s core is by visualizing it as a cylinder – our abs only make up one side (front) of our core. The other muscles involved are our transversus abdominis which wraps around our organs (like a natural corset), our diaphragm which sits right below our rib cage and assists our lungs to take in air and breathe, our back muscles which include the erector spinae and longissimus thoracis, our oblique muscles (sides), and last but not least, our pelvic floor muscles which make up the “bottom of the cylinder.”
Our core muscles play a crucial part in holding our organs in the right place and work together to help us move and carry out our daily activities. Our pelvic floor muscles are no different. When they become weak, other muscles – in this case your lower back, have to pick up the slack and become overworked. Unfortunately, many medical doctors neglect the role of the pelvic floor as it is not entirely understood.
Luckily, there has been a large push in the world of physical therapy and women’s health to raise awareness of the importance of the pelvic floor and the therapies available to correct any dysfunctions. If you currently suffer from unexplainable back pain and feel like you’ve run out of solutions or options, we strongly encourage you to see our pelvic floor therapist, Irene Hernandez, DPT for an evaluation.
Pubis Symphysis Dysfunction (SPD)
Pubis Symphysis Dysfunction (also known as Pelvic Girdle Pain) normally affects pregnant women and is described as a sharp pain originating from the pubic area or as a radiating pain that is felt in the surrounding muscles and joints around the hips, lower back, and upper inner thighs. During pregnancy, your pelvis can experience pain and muscle weakness from the changes in your body.
The pubis symphysis, which is the cartilage that holds the two halves of the pelvis together (colored green in the illustration above) separates during childbirth allowing more space for the child to exit. This also creates instability of the pelvis making it difficult or painful to walk, sit, or bear weight on one leg.
With physical therapy, and more specifically, pelvic floor therapy, we can help strengthen weak muscles to help support your body as it changes and prevents more serious issues to arise during and after birth. Stabilization exercises and raising awareness of your body’s posture and positioning can help reduce complications throughout your pregnancy.
A woman’s body experiences a lot of trauma during childbirth. Luckily, there are a number of issues that pelvic floor therapy can address postpartum.
Diastasis Rectus Abdominis (Separated Abdominal Muscles)
During pregnancy, your body releases hormones to allow your abdominal muscles to stretch to make more room for your developing baby. In some cases, your abdominal muscles may split down the middle and become separated. Re-training and strengthening of the abdominal wall are very important postpartum as it plays a big role in the voluntary control of urine and feces. Leakage can occur when the rectus abdominis is weak.
Our physical therapists can help you during and after pregnancy can help strengthen your abs and prevent diastasis recti.
Our Pre & Post Partum Rehab Locations
Park Sports Physical Therapy142 Prospect Park West
Brooklyn, NY 11215(718) 398-8800