The Unaddressed Topics of Pregnancy and Postpartum Care
Updated: May 29, 2020
Take Home Messages and Nuggets
- Unaddressed topics in pregnancy and postpartum treatment
- How Pelvic PT can help
- Link to my top 5 go to exercises
I could sit here and write to you about the common topics of pregnancy which you can probably Google. So instead, I decided to write about the topics where my patients ask "Why didn't anyone tell me about this?"
The "Did you know about this?" topics are always what keeps me on my toes, so I wanted to share that with you.
I think what makes me cringe the most is when a patient says "Well my doctor told me this is your body now..." With that being said, here we go.
DID YOU KNOW ABOUT...
Clogged Milk Ducts
Yeah. That's a thing. Breast pain can occur due a clogged breast milk duct. An infection, called mastitis can also happen from bacteria entering the breast. A clogged milk duct DOES NOT mean you have mastitis, but if untreated it can cause an infection. What do you do? You can massage the breast (you always want to either start from the top or bottom and massage TOWARDS the nipple). TIPS: you can perform this in the shower or do this while pumping to increase blood flow. If you decide to seek medical attention, a physical therapist can help to massage the area, ultrasound to increase blood flow / pressure and also give you peace of mind that this is common and you didn't do anything wrong. Products such as a skin brush or even a comb can accompany the massage as well.
The "Mom Pouch"
We have all heard of the infamous "mom pouch". The reason I consider this an unaddressed topic is because the mom pouch or diastasis recti (the separation of your abdominal muscles that does not necessarily need to be caused by birth) can be prevented and it can also be treated. A therapist can determine if you have diastasis by measuring the finger width of separation when you perform a sit up or crunch - this isn't the easiest to do on your own, but it is doable! Core engagement has always been important, but I mention this because a therapist can take you through treatment BEFORE pregnancy, DURING pregnancy and AFTER pregnancy in order to prevent this separation. Treatment can include: exercises, tips when performing functional movements (not rounding your back, always engaging your core), taping and more.
Pain with Intercourse
Many of my patients tell me they don't want their partner touching them with a 10 foot pole after birth. I think that's fair enough, but if you do want to have intimate moments it's important to note that after both a C-Section and vaginal birth - the pelvic floor muscles tend to become overactive or they can become under-active. If your muscles are "overactive" this means they need to calm down in a sense. If they are "under-active" this means they need to strengthen. Manual work or perineal massage can be useful for this. If you place a finger inside the opening of your vagina, you may even be able to feel where certain areas are painful. If you don't feel comfortable using your finger, there are products called dilators that are very useful. We use these in order to teach our patients how to get rid of trigger points within the pelvic floor on their own.
Pelvic Organ Prolapses & Incontinence
This is when your organs drop from their normal position and impact surrounding muscles. Most of my patients will tell me that it "always feels like something is falling out". Because of this, incontinence (the inability to hold in / lack of control of urine or feces) can occur. Granted, incontinence can stem from many other causes but I have found that these two will come hand in hand. Anyone ever pee when they cough, laugh, jump or sneeze? I totally have and there are ways to fix this. Strengthening the pelvic floor is the most common way to treat incontinence along with examining the surrounding muscles, however I always suggest seeing a medical professional before looking up these exercises online or researching in general. Usually, it is suggested to perform kegels (which I personally love) and I will never downplay kegels - but if your muscles are overactive as I stated before, then kegels can actually do more harm than good. You never want to strengthen a muscle that is already tight in the first place... just some food for thought before you go performing kegels all the time!
This is a simple, but effective way to share / find ideas. If you type in "pregnancy" or "postpartum" on Facebook, Instagram, you name it - you will find that there is a whole new world out there for parents who feel the same way you do!
These are some, but not all of the Instagram pages I follow:
If you do not have Instagram, type these names into Google and the websites will come up!
So what are simple, but effective exercises for my pregnant and postpartum crew? These are my top 5 exercises below. I'm the type to stick with the basics before even attempting to do the higher level activities. Click on the link below and copy and paste the access code!
Access Code: QPDAQHVH
Please know, there are plenty of resources out there. I will say this time and time again.
You are ALWAYS entitled to a second opinion.
"Your body will change. And there is damn well something you can do about it"
If you haven't followed The Pelvic Floor Playbook on Instagram make sure you do so! @the_pelvicfloorplaybook
Next week I'm focusing on:
With love always,