Should Seeing a Physical Therapist After Giving Birth Be Normal?

By Ben Loomis – DSC_9441.jpg, CC BY 2.0,

After giving birth, moms are often told they’re going to be able to get back to regular activity quickly. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says that women who have had a healthy pregnancy and a normal vaginal delivery should be able to start exercising again a few days after birth—or as soon as you feel ready. They recommend that moms who have C-sections talk to their health care provider about what’s best for them.

At the same time, the first six weeks after childbirth may be marked by physical changes and symptoms, from perineal soreness to postnatal pain and swelling of the breast. And yet, most of the six-week check-ups focus on a quick uterine exam, mental health issues, and a strong focus on the newborn, potentially failing to address the real physical changes that a new mom is experiencing in the short term that could shape her health down the road. That’s why new moms might want to consider seeing a pelvic floor therapist.

Physical therapy can help restore muscle function after a nine-month “athletic event” of pregnancy and childbirth.

Over time, women’s bodies usually recover naturally from the effects of pregnancy. In some post-pregnancy women, muscles have become so weakened, overworked, or damaged that they may need to be re-trained to function properly. Physical therapists are trained to restore muscle function, and some receive additional training to help with women’s problems, including those related to pregnancy and childbirth, such as over-separated abdominals or pelvic floor muscle disorders.

Bladder problems and pelvic pain are common, but not normal, post-birth symptoms and may indicate that you are among one-third of U.S. women with pelvic floor disorders.

Other factors other than pregnancy that contribute to pelvic floor disorders include aging, obesity, chronic coughing, constipation, and pelvic surgery. Pelvic floor disorders are especially common if you have given birth more than once or to twins or multiples. Utah’s high birth rate means that many Utah women are in this category.

Common symptoms of pelvic floor muscles that do not function properly:

  • Leaking urine when you cough, sneeze, or exercise that involves running or suddenly moving—called stress incontinence.
  • Increased urinary frequency or difficulty in emptying the bladder
  • Pain in the pelvis, abdomen, lower back, or tail bone.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse or sexual dysfunction
  • Intestinal issues
  • Pelvic organ prolapse—when the bladder or uterus drops and presses against your vagina.

If you have problems with your bladder or pelvic pain, or if your abdominal muscles remain separate, consult your doctor or a physical therapist who specializes in women’s issues.

Are You Looking for a Physical Therapist Near San Jose You Can Trust?

Pace Physical Therapy in San Jose, California specializes in non-surgical neck pain relief and recovery therapies.  We pride ourselves on offering the best possible physical therapy available and going above and beyond for our patients. Our highly experienced physical therapist will work with you to improve your function and relieve your pain. We start by assessing the body as a whole. Oftentimes the cause of pain or an injury extends far beyond just the body part or muscle hurting. Without taking a comprehensive look at your entire self, we would be doing you a disservice in fully helping you heal and preventing future limitations. We then move on to fixing your areas of limitation.  Not all diagnoses are created equal. One person with neck pain may have completely different limitations than the next person. Your recovery program needs to be specific to what YOUR body needs and not just the typical exercise program that you can find online. Just because your pain decreases or you can walk longer doesn’t mean that it is enough to get you functioning at the level you want to be. While this often signifies the end of care at your typical PT clinic we don’t stop providing guidance until we help you successfully meet every goal you set for yourself with us on day one. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!