Being Pregnant and Postpartum can be an Overwhelming Experience and Definitely Changes Our Body! Pelvic Floor PT is a Key Component of Your Postpartum Recovery.
Each of us will experience our unique emotional reactions to the changes in our body! You don’t have to know all the answers. Expert help from a pelvic floor PT will take your postpartum recovery to the next level!
How do these changes in your postpartum body make you feel? What do you think about your body now? If you are struggling with disappointment in your pregnant or postpartum body, I can help you get back to feeling more like yourself when you join me to complete a postpartum PT recovery program. Pregnancy and the postpartum period carry a risk of low back pain, pelvic girdle pain (such as SI joint pain, pubic bone pain, coccyx pain), painful sex, pelvic floor dysfunction, diastasis recti abdominus and urinary incontinence. This is quite a long list, actually, of unfortunate things that you be experiencing as a result of being pregnant. The good news is that working with me you will get a comprehensive evalution and treatment program to ensure you get your body back into top form. Pregnancy changes our posture, breathing, abdominal wall, pelvic floor, bladder, bowels and sex life. I can help you recover all of these things!
What should your postpartum recovery program look like and include? Pelvic floor PT help you get your body back and return to an active life!
- Check you for a diastasis recti abdominus and develop a program of recovery from this
- Evaluate and treat every muscle of your pelvic floor to determine how each one is working and to get each one to come back to function.
- Teach you how to recover optimal breathing function, which was disrupted when you were pregnant and the baby moved your diaphragm. Recovering breathing is crucial to recovering your pelvic floor function.
- Take you through a progressive exercise program to restore your pelvic floor strength, coordination, function and speed.
- Address your posture, especially increased midback hunch, tight shoulders, forward head and tilted pelvis. Pregnancy changes your fascia and postural alignment and we look at this and help you correct it.
- Optimize your pelvic organ suppport, a very important part of addressing pelvic organ prolapse
- Strengthen your back and abdominals so you can confidently lift your baby and everything else you need to lift.
- Get you back to higher level activities including jumping, skipping and running.
Research confirms that exercise and hands-on care for pregnant women can help their low back pain
Exercise (any exercise on land or in water), may reduce pregnancy‐related low‐back pain and any exercise improves functional disability and reduces sick leave more than usual prenatal care. Evidence from single studies suggests that acupuncture or craniosacral therapy improves pregnancy‐related pelvic pain, and osteomanipulative therapy or a multi‐modal intervention (manual therapy, exercise and education) may also be of benefit.
Pregnancies and a live baby were hard to come by in my experience.
I was one of the healthiest people I knew. I was fit and active. I was a physical therapist and knew how to help women through their pregnancy. I had a regular cycle and zero clue that becoming a mother would take years of tears, pregnancy losses, hopelessness and digging in. I had to discover wholistic ways to facilitate fertility, I had to work on stress/mind/body/spirit. I had to call on my faith to get us through this. I did just about everything under the sun to facilitate becoming a mother. If you have experienced infertility you know what I’m talking about. Yep, I did everything. Everything.
My postpartum experience wasn’t so peachy, either. I had to do extensive pelvic floor PT, abdominal wall recovery and rebuilding my strength and conditioning.
In my first 30 days postpartum I had emergency surgeries and spent ten hellish days in the hospital. My family was amazing and scared to death for me. It is not an exaggeration to say it looked like I wasn’t going to make it. The will got drawn up in the hospital bed and the priest came. It was a serious and dangerous and God-awful experience. I had two kids under two years old who were not allowed at the hospital. My family and friends were amazing and provided around the clock care for our kids, with my husband shuttling between the hospital and the two locations where our kids were staying. My family wanted to touch base with me or my husband each hour to see how I was doing, because it seemed to change rapidly and would go downhill fast. We were desperate to get me stable, but the roller coaster had begun and it was decidedly out of control. And, remember, I was one of the healthiest people I knew! I was an athlete, super healthy eater, had come to pregnancy after completing years of wholistic healing. And. Still. It. All. Went. Wrong. Until it went right! Yay! Eventually I stabilized and got to go home, exhausted and uncertain if I would be able to take care of our two kids. And my body was a wreck. My pelvic floor was a disaster (so many surgeries and my labor and delivery had done a number on me), my abdominal wall had a huge diastasis recti abdominus, all of my body muscles had atrophied. I remember looking at my calves when I was in the hospital and shedding a tear at how atrophied they became. It happened so quickly, over a matter of two weeks. My OBGyne said “well, you’ve lost all of your pregnancy weight and then some.” And I remember replying “It is all atrophy. I will weight lift and get it back.” And I did. It took a long time & a lot of discipline to recover my abdominal wall and pelvic floor and to get strong again. But I did it, with the help of pelvic PT and my clinical background in how to take a woman through a safe and progressive postpartum recovery program.
Now you know a bit about how I got to be the person I am today. I have been through an epic pregnancy and postpartum recovery and found a path forward that is authentically grateful, happy, strong and whole! And I offer this wisdom and understanding to my patients. I know my patient’s pregnancy and postpartum experiences feel like a huge challenge to them. May feel overwhelming. May feel hopeless, like you are stuck with urinary incontinence or a “mommy pooch.” I am proof positive that this is not the case.
Working with individuals who are experiencing pregnancy or are postpartum is a calling for me! I love it!
I offer these women an insight, grace, clinical expertise, understanding and joyfulness for their pregnancy. I had to complete intensive postpartum PT recovery. Because of the nature of my labor and delivery and postpartum complications I had serious work to do to recover my pelvic floor, abdominal wall, strength, conditioning and function. I did the hard work. And, I know the commitment it takes to reach your goals. It doesn’t happen overnight and it takes real insight and expertise to provide postpartum pelvic health physical therapy to a woman. It is an honor to work with women who are pregnant and postpartum.
I have advanced training in providing pregnant and postpartum women pelvic floor PT and designing a postpartum recovery fitness program.
And my training dates back to the 1990s! So, I’ve been studying and treating pregnancy and postpartum recovery for more than 2 decades! Many pregnant women come to me experiencing miserable pelvic pain. It might be their SI joint hurts, or their pubic bones are grinding everytime they move their leg, or they cannot roll in bed without back pain. Or it might be that they are experiencing urinary incontinence or pelvic floor muscle spasms or a diastasis recti. I can help all of these conditions! How lucky am I? It is truly an honor to help women during their pregnancy and postpartum periods.
I offer compassionate, patient-focused wholistic treatment for people who are suffering from pelvic conditions! Are you interested in addressing your postpartum recovery? Call Today for Information on our Program.
When I went through my own infertility, miscarriage and postpartum recovery challenges I had a team of providers who walked with me and supported me. Let me be on your team! I am a pelvic health physical therapist who will walk your journey with you and help you find your way through your condition so that you can feel like yourself again! Many pelvic health conditions can be filled with equal despair as I have gone through. I’ve recovered myself and I will be there to help you, whatever your pelvic condition may be. If you are looking for compassionate, wholistic care for a pelvic condition, especially pregnancy and postpartum recovery, chronic pelvic pain (men or women) or endometriosis, I have the clinical expertise to help you. Call 616-516-4334 to contact us to learn more about our pelvic health PT services and to schedule a free phone consult with me, Dr. Maureen O’Keefe, DPT to see if I may be able to help you.
Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Purple Mountain Physical Therapy is a specialty pelvic health clinic founded by Dr. Maureen O’Keefe, DPT. With more than 20 years experience helping women and men with complex pelvic problems, Dr. O’Keefe provides unique and advanced services that are compassionate and patient focused and help get you back to feeling like yourself again.
Dr. Maureen O’Keefe