How Can Virtual Physical Therapy Sessions
Help Pregnant & Postpartum Women??
There are lots of questions when it comes to prenatal and postpartum care with everything going on in our world today. In this blog, I’m going to discuss how you can get help for your pain/symptoms that you are experiencing, help with guidance in return to exercise, help with exercise modifications due to diastasis recti or pelvic floor dysfunction, help with your C-section recovery, etc. Just because you may not want to or are unable to go to a physical therapist in person, there is still A LOT of value and benefit to working with a physical therapist virtually!
Prenatal Virtual Sessions:
I recommend prenatal physical therapy for all women, whether you are 13 weeks pregnant or 35 weeks pregnant! Many people think to go to physical therapy, you have to be in pain. But, what about injury prevention? What about assessing your movement, mobility, strength, and function now to determine areas that need a little improvement to prevent pain and injury? My point here is that it is beneficial whether you are experiencing pain during pregnancy or not to work with a physical therapist, even just for a session or two.
During a Prenatal Virtual Session, these are some of the things that will be assessed/discussed/demonstrated:
How your inner core is working (diaphragm, deep abdominals, low back stabilizing muscles, and pelvic floor) and how to train this effectively and safely during pregnancy
How to prevent and treat common conditions that occur during pregnancy including: pelvic girdle pain (sacroiliac joint pain, pubic symphysis pain), low back pain, hip pain, mid back pain, neck/shoulder tension, urinary incontinence, etc.
How to prevent and treat various muscle imbalances that occur during pregnancy and how to improve your posture to reduce aches and pains
Safe exercise during pregnancy, how to modify certain exercises, etc.
Techniques and exercises to help open the pelvis and prepare your pelvic floor for birth and what you can be doing to help reduce tearing during delivery
Various birthing positions and how to practice and prepare for labor
How you can begin safely retraining and reconnecting to your inner core in the first few weeks postpartum (The best time to prepare for the postpartum period is during pregnancy! If you have the tools and know what to do to help facilitate a smooth recovery postpartum, you can feel less stressed and better about the postpartum period!)
You will be given an exercise program with videos and instructions as well as a follow-up email with details about everything that was discussed during your session as I know it can be a lot of information covered!
Postpartum Virtual Sessions:
Why would you need to see a physical therapist postpartum??
In my opinion, seeing a postpartum physical therapist or pelvic floor physical therapist postpartum should be a standard of care in our country whether you had a vaginal delivery or a cesarean section delivery! In many other countries, it is the standard of care! Think about it this way...if you sprained your ankle or had ACL surgery, your physician would refer you to physical therapy where you would likely spend weeks to months rehabbing your injury and gradually returning to exercise! The same standard should go for postpartum women.
Think about all of the changes that occur during pregnancy -- your diaphragm is pushed up, your ribs are pushed out, the excess weight in the front as your belly grows causes the curves of your spine to change and makes your back muscles compensate and tighten, your abdominals are stretched, and there is a tremendous amount of pressure on your pelvic floor! Then, after going through that for 9 months, you deliver the baby and with that comes trauma to the vaginal area/perineum as well as to the abdomen in terms of a cesarean section when they have to cut through all of the layers of tissue. We must spend time rehabbing our bodies postpartum prior to just jumping right back into the same exercise we were doing pre-pregnancy or even during pregnancy!
During a Postpartum Virtual Session, these are some of the things that can be assessed/discussed/demonstrated:
How your inner core is working (diaphragm, deep abdominals, low back stabilizing muscles, pelvic floor) and how to begin reconnecting and rehabbing your core safely and effectively postpartum based on your current level of function
How to prevent or treat common conditions that occur postpartum including: diastasis recti (abdominal separation), low back pain, pelvic girdle pain, urinary frequency, urge urinary incontinence, stress urinary incontinence (leaking with coughing/sneezing/running/jumping), pelvic organ prolapse, hip pain, etc.
If you have diastasis recti, we will discuss what it is, how you can assess your core, what it means, how to modify exercises/workouts, and develop an appropriate program to load your core to help facilitate healing of your diastasis
How to treat various muscle imbalances that are common postpartum and how to address/improve your posture and alignment
Lifting mechanics, Baby wearing/carrying mechanics to help decrease aches and pains while doing these things all day long!
Safe return to exercise (whatever that may look like for you -- CrossFit, running, yoga, triathlons, swimming, HIIT, bootcamp classes, etc.)
You will be prescribed a home exercise program based on your specific needs/goals and will receive an email with details regarding things we discussed during the session!
I hope after reading this, you see that there are many ways that you can receive help virtually from a physical therapist during pregnancy and postpartum if you are not able to see a physical therapist in person! If you have any other questions or concerns regarding anything...please don’t hesitate to email me directly: email@example.com :)
Stay safe & healthy during this time!
Kaitlin Hartley, PT, DPT, PPCES