Pelvic Floor Health, and what you should know.

I recently reached out to a family friend, Renee Spinella, who is a pelvic floor therapist to see if she'd give us some insight on pelvic floor health- which can be greatly affected from pregnancy.  As a mom, I'm only in the past few years familiar with pelvic floor issues.  Luckily- there's help out there!

“What do you expect? You just had a baby!” “You just have to live with pain during pregnancy!” “Welcome to the club! Once you have a baby it’s normal to pee in your pants when you laugh!!”

Sound familiar? Terrified to join the “club”? The good news is that you do not have to!! I am here to give you knowledge and hope so you can get yourself on track to feeling better! Pelvic floor physical therapy is a specialized branch of physical therapy focusing on all of the problems that we face as women. Social media has helped to make this type of therapy more well known, but despite that there is still a lot of work to do! There is a myriad of problems that can occur during pregnancy and following delivery - whether it be vaginal or c-section. But in any case, this specialized branch of therapists is here to help!

Here is a list of common (but never normal!) problems you may encounter during pregnancy or following delivery: neck or back pain, pelvic pain, abdominal diastasis (separation of the abdominal muscles), urine leakage or urgency, increased urinary frequency, fecal leakage or urgency, constipation, perineal tearing, c-section scar tightness or pain, hip weakness and other muscle weaknesses contributing to poor posture and improper breathing patterns. Often, moms have many of these problems and they all contribute to the persistence of each other.

Sounds like gloom and doom, but there’s hope! A well trained pelvic health physical therapist is armed with the knowledge to ask you about all of the possible problems you might be experiencing, but do not even know could be connected and therefore might forget to mention. And from there, we are able to create a treatment plan that will start to help peel away the “layers of the onion” so to speak. Patients often start to feel so much better after just a couple sessions.

Pelvic floor health and what you should know.

Here are some tips so you can advocate for yourself:
  • First, when looking for a pelvic health PT, be sure to ask if they have advanced level training in pelvic health.
  • Second, make sure the therapist is targeting treatment to your specific symptoms and not just giving you generic exercises. You will know your treatment is specific if it is addressing your pain and symptoms.
  • Third, it is ok to ask questions so you understand the connection between what they are doing and your problem.
  • Fourth, do not get frustrated if it takes a while. People often start feeling better quickly, however it will take some time for everything to come together and for you to reach your full potential.
  • Fifth, do not be afraid to speak up if treatment does not seem to be helping.
I firmly believe that every mom deserves a postpartum pelvic health examination. Pregnancy affects every system of our body and therefore it comes as no surprise that we might need a little help to get things back on track. But as you now see, investing your time is worth it. You have one body in life and a long life to live in it. You owe it to yourself to feel good!!
Renee Spinella, pelvic floor therapist