2 LOCATIONS:   BETHESDA, MD. 4905 Del Ray Ave, Suite 508   |   MCLEAN, VA. 1305 Vincent Place

Physical Therapy Services and Support for Pregnant and Postpartum Women

Both pregnancy and the postpartum period bring about a whirlwind of changes and challenges for our bodies. But hey, here’s the good news: a licensed pelvic physical therapist can be your secret weapon in tackling all these hurdles head-on! With a customized and tailored treatment plan, we are here  to help expecting and new mothers ease pain and discomfort and improve your overall well-being. So, don’t hesitate—reach out to a pelvic physical therapist at ITR and let us be your partner on this life-changing journey!

Overview of Physical Changes During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period

During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes a lot of changes to accommodate the growing fetus (or fetuses) and to prepare the body for giving birth. With the wild hormonal fluctuations come things like weight gain which can change a woman’s center of gravity and posture, leading to discomfort such as back pain. Also, the muscles and ligaments in the pelvis, abdomen, and pelvic floor stretch and and adjust to fit the growing fetus and also allow for more space and flexibility during childbirth.

After childbirth, the body will continue to adjust as postpartum recovery begins. This includes the process of the stretched skin, muscle, and ligaments regaining their strength and shape. In many cases, the pregnancy and childbirth process can lead to weakening of the pelvic floor and abdominal areas which can cause things like bulges in the abdomen (diastasis recti), pain, incontinence or even pelvic organ prolapse.

Importance of physical therapy in addressing the unique needs of pregnant and postpartum women

Physical therapy plays a critical role in helping women to address the issues that can come with pregnancy and childbirth. A physical therapist can provide customized care that is tailored to a woman’s specific concerns.

Think of a physical therapist as your personal health guru—a superhero for your muscles and joints, ready to guide you through pregnancy and beyond with expertise and support! With targeted manual therapies, exercises, and education, a physical therapist can treat issues ranging from pain to posture to pelvic floor dysfunction.

Prenatal Physical Therapy

Pregnancy is a time of much change in a woman’s body, leading to a variety of symptoms ranging from pain to difficulty sleeping. Prenatal physical therapy is designed to address and treat discomforts and empower expecting mothers to navigate the unique challenges of pregnancy as comfortably as possible.

During pregnancy, a physical therapist can help to address a multitude of issues, including:

  • Muscle pain/discomfort
  • Back pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Round ligament pain
  • Pelvic girdle pain
  • Posture and body mechanics
  • Exercise prescriptions (strengthening, stretching and/or pelvic floor exercises)
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Preparing for labor and delivery (such as breathing, relaxation and positioning)

Postpartum Physical Therapy

In the time period following childbirth, postpartum recovery begins. Whether through vaginal or c-section, a new mother will face many discomforts and challenges that can be aided through the help of a physical therapist’s care.

A physical therapist can help to address postpartum issues including:

  • Restoring pelvic function (such as pelvic organ prolapse)
  • Cesarean scar management
  • Urinary or fecal incontinence
  • Abdominal muscle rehabilitation (such as diastasis recti)
  • Core strengthening
  • Pelvic pain
  • Back pain
  • Hip pain
  • Posture realignment

Why Physical Therapy During Pregnancy and Beyond

The extensive changes that a woman’s body goes through during and after pregnancy can lead to lasting issues that seriously affect a woman’s quality of life. Pregnancy is a transformative time, both mentally and physically, and a physical therapist can be there to address the pain, discomfort, and pelvic issues that may arise.

Embracing the help of a physical therapist empowers women to navigate pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum recovery with strength and resilience, knowing they have a trusted professional to help them along their journey.