Pelvic Physical Therapy

Pregnancy is such a miraculous experience! However, the changes a woman’s body goes through are dramatic and can cause a number of possible dysfunctions. Most physicians don’t tell their pregnant patients the delivery process (both vaginal delivery and cesarean sections) can be quite traumatic on our bodies.

Many women who are pregnant begin to experience different types of pain related to the changes in their body due to pregnancy. Some of these new symptoms are from the mechanical changes, due to increase in weight and subsequent changes in the distribution of how the weight is carried in the body. Other discomforts or pain may be due to hormonal changes that can further affect the musculoskeletal system and nerves. This may cause pain in and around the low back area that can also refer pain to other areas of the body.

The mechanical and hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy can lead to a variety of issues, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, nerve compression syndromes, foot and ankle pain, abdominal pain, and urinary problems. Most women are told that these symptoms and pain are just a normal part of pregnancy, but you do not have to suffer, help is available!

During pregnancy and birth, the pelvic organs (bladder, uterus and rectum) are affected. Some of the common complaints after the delivery are urinary incontinence, diastasis recti, and pelvic organ prolapse. Urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine that can be due to an increase in intra-abdominal pressure or due to strong urges. Pelvic organ prolapse is when one or some of the pelvic organs fall below their normal positions in the pelvis to the point where it can fall out of the vagina causing a myriad of issues, including pressure and discomfort. Diastasis recti occurs when the connective tissue between the right and left abdominal muscles is stretched as the baby and your abdomen grow and does not come back together during the post-partum period. The loss of this space also results in the loss of positive pressure throughout the abdomen and pelvic cavities, which can eventually affect the support of your pelvic organs and lead to urinary incontinence.

Another common issue women can have after giving birth is painful scars, both from C-sections and from episiotomies. These can affect your ability to contract and engage your inner core stabilizing muscles. This can also lead to painful intercourse.

Just because many women commonly deal with all types of pelvic floor dysfunctions after pregnancy and delivery does not make it normal. You deserve to return to your previous level of function and enjoy spending time with your children without worrying about your bladder or feeling pain or pressure in your pelvis.

Pelvic floor physical therapists are trained to help patients with any and all of these possible complications. Our physical therapists at ITR use a variety of manual therapy techniques to ensure joint alignment and to release tight and painful muscles, joints, and fascia. We also personalize exercise, dietary recommendations, and lifestyle routines for you.

For more information, visit ITRphysicaltherapy.com.

Jennifer Chu
Jennifer Chu, MS, PT, WCS is one of the country’s first Board Certified Women’s Health Specialists. She has been a physical therapist since 1997 when she started her career working with musculoskeletal injuries in an outpatient orthopedic clinic. It was here that Jennifer began her specialty in women’s health. In 2001 she opened ITR Physical Therapy in order to create an environment where patients would receive the individualized, quality and manual care that she believes each patient deserves. Jennifer has spoken nationally at the American Physical Therapy Association’s Annual Conference and Exposition and has sat on the Board of Directors as the Director of Communication for the APTA’s Section on Women’s Health. She has participated in clinical research regarding myofascial soft tissue release techniques for painful bladder syndrome and painful C section scars. She is committed to teaching and empowering women and men with pelvic floor dysfunctions how to help themselves. When not working, Jennifer treasures being the mother of two amazing girls, practicing yoga, meditation and spending time with her friends and family.