What is Postpartum Physical Therapy?

Postpartum Physical Therapy is a type of physical therapy that can be very helpful for postpartum moms. Pregnancy and childbirth can damage the muscles and connective tissue of the pelvic floor, causing all kinds of inconvenient and uncomfortable symptoms for women after they give birth.  Our Physical Therapist at Gulf Coast Pain Institute, Dr. Kendra Keyes Metcalfe, PT, DPT can evaluate these symptoms.  Then she and her team can create a postpartum physical therapy plan for you to help relive your symptoms and restore your function.  In addition, we can teach you to do exercises at home to help relax muscles that are tight and strengthen muscles that are weak.

What is Postpartum Physical Therapy like?

Postpartum Physical Therapy involves several different kinds of techniques that focus on the muscles and connective tissue of your pelvic floor and abdomen.

Dr. Metcalfe and her team will teach you to identify various muscles, so you can strengthen or release them. All of the muscles in this area work together to help you maintain your core strength and prevent incontinence.  Women lose a lot of tone in their abdominal muscles during pregnancy. About two-thirds end up with what’s known as diastasis recti, a separation of the rectus abdominis muscle along the center of the belly. This condition can contribute to lower back pain, constipation, and urine leaks, as well as that stubborn postpartum stomach pooch that may last for months or even years.  Diastasis recti cannot be fixed with crunches or sit ups. In fact, these exercises can make the problem worse. Instead, the condition requires special strengthening exercises that focus on the deeper transverse abdominal muscles. Your therapist can teach you how to do these exercises at home.