Taking control over the health of your pelvic floor is not something that has to wait until damage has already been done. Many women are choosing to strengthen their pelvic floors as a preventative measure to any complications that may arise before, during, or after childbirth. Dr. Nathan Fox at Maternal Fetal Medicine Associates in Manhattan, NY, spoke with Dr. Alicia Ferriere, a pelvic physical therapist to discuss how she has helped patients prepare for childbirth and minimize the physical recovery that follows.
Pelvic physical therapy is a type of specialized physical therapy that is designed to address dysfunction in the pelvic floor muscles. Some of these dysfunctions can include pain, discomfort, and disruption to the quality of your life. For many women who give birth vaginally pelvic floor therapy during and after pregnancy can help improve or prevent the possibility of tearing during childbirth, urinary incontinence, pain during sex, and pelvic organ prolapse. Certain techniques and exercises that may be used include trigger point therapy, biofeedback, deep tissue massage, and Kegels.
In an episode of “Healthful Women”, a podcast designed to explore women’s health during all stages of life, Dr. Nathan Fox had a conversation with physical and pelvic floor therapist Dr. Alicia Ferriere and she shared the many ways she has helped women during their pregnancies and after childbirth. The idea of preventative physical therapy to is help prevent injury from happening. In most cases, she has women coming in needing advice and assistance on how to modify their exercise routine to keep themselves and their baby safe while maintaining an active lifestyle, and in others, her patients come in with the intention of prepping for labor.
On the topic of remaining active and prepping for labor, Dr. Ferriere states, “People can come in if they are trying to remain active in a particular way. So, if they’re trying to either stay active running and they want some guidance behind that, or, you know, even…I’ve had people who are like how do I modify my Pilates or my yoga …keeping in mind that they want to keep the pelvic floor healthy. And then also, too, I have some people coming wanting to really prep for the labor and delivery process, which can really look different depending on the person, that can involve perineal tissue stretching and making sure that they are in tune with the pelvic floor and that they understand how to contract and relax and mobilize it so that the muscle tissue stays healthy for that labor and delivery process.”
Your muscles are going to stretch during your pregnancy. There is simply no way of getting around it, but that doesn’t mean they have to stretch beyond repair or recognition. Taking control of your physical and pelvic health during pregnancy and preparing yourself for the way your body is going to change and how you may have to change in response, is the best way to allow for a healthy transition. Making sure you are keeping particular muscle groups healthy and balanced, while also maintaining the mind-body connection to your muscles can help maintain stability throughout pregnancy and during postpartum. As far as Dr. Ferriere’s opinions on a preventative approach, she states, “I love the proactive approach of, like, you know, this is what I wanna do, and I wanna stay healthy. And I find too a lot of people, there’s a lot more of the pelvic floor awareness, especially postpartum.”
To learn more about preventative physical and pelvic floor therapy during pregnancy, visit the Maternal Fetal Medicine Associates website to fill out an online contact form and schedule a consultation. Our experts are here to support you before, during, and after your pregnancy with professional and comforting care.
Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!