Top 3 Reasons to Have a Women's Health PT on your Birth TeamSep 10, 2023
Author: Dr. Becky Word PT, DPT
Welcome to pregnancy, the most beautiful time in your life! Childbirth is the most natural thing your body can do, so there is no need to prepare, just kick back and relax until you are magically holding your newborn baby and ready to hit the gym just a short six weeks later.
Ok, were you rolling your eyes while reading that? Good, because I was also rolling my eyes while writing it. The truth is there is a reason why there are so many highly skilled providers who are traditionally a part of the birthing team: OBs, midwives, doulas, etc. But have you considered having a women’s health physical therapist as part of your team? I could go on and on about why this is important, but let’s keep it short and focus on the top three reasons why ALL pregnant women need a physical therapist on their team:
- The pelvic floor is the gatekeeper for the pelvis. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles situated at the base of the pelvis. Nothing is allowed into or out of the pelvis without permission from (or damage to) the pelvic floor muscles. Want to learn how to train your muscles to allow that sweet baby to come out with minimal damage? DON’T DO KEGELS! Instead, find a physical therapist who is trained how to not only assess, but also properly train you pelvic floor muscles to function at their best throughout the process.
- Physical therapists are experts on the human body and how it moves. While I absolutely LOVE what I do as a pelvic floor physical therapist, I was a general orthopedic PT first. That means before I ever learned the ins and outs of the pelvic floor (pun intended) I spent a great deal of time learning how the body moves and functions as a whole. During labor and delivery, there are two bodies going through a choreographed series of movements: mom and baby. Who better to help you facilitate that dance than an expert physical therapist who can teach you optimal positions for each stage of labor (yes, even with an epidural).
- We are rehab professionals, and postpartum is all about the (pre)/rehab! Most birth prep classes will tell you all about how to know you are in labor, when to call your doctor, and what your medication options are for managing pain. Don’t get me wrong, these things are all important; BUT - don’t you also want someone to tell you that the first time you poop after childbirth can be really scary, and here are all the things you can do to make it better? And if your baby is 8 pounds, and the car seat weighs 9 pounds, when you put them together it somehow magically weighs 50 pounds (scientists have not yet discovered how this is possible, lol!) and you’re going to need to be able to lug this around starting on day 3 at the latest. Physical therapists can help you decide which strengthening exercises will be most important for pregnancy and postpartum. We also teach you specific strategies to help you move more efficiently and safely to avoid injury when you are most vulnerable.
At Catalyst Physical Therapy, we believe the mother should get just as much attention as the baby. By inviting us on to your pregnancy team, we can make sure you receive this specialized attention, which also extends into the fourth trimester of postpartum recovery. If this sounds like something you would like to include in your care, we welcome you to check out our #CatalystMoms pregnancy and postpartum program, our personalized approach to help you navigate your pregnancy.