Postpartum Physiotherapy in Barrie, ON
The postpartum period, is the period immediately after childbirth. Although sometimes neglected in pregnancy plans, this period is critical for every parent. Pregnancy and childbirth change the body. Increased weight and changes to your pelvic floor muscles are some of the changes that occur during this period.
It is normal to want to get back to a healthy weight and get back to your normal activities. Postpartum physiotherapy in Barrie, ON, can help you regain your strength, heal properly, and reduce your chance of injuries in the future.
What Is Postpartum Physiotherapy?
Postpartum physiotherapy focuses on helping a mother heal properly and regain her strength after childbirth. Pregnancy and childbirth stretch the abdominal and pelvic muscles, affecting your posture and causing injuries like backache. Postpartum physiotherapy consists of exercises and treatment methods to strengthen lax muscles and nurse a mother back to health.
A postpartum physiotherapy program may take several months after birth. Usually, your physiotherapist will curate specialized treatments for each postpartum stage while considering your strength and medical history. You can rest assured of the best treatments at Concept of Movement Physiotherapy.
What Conditions Does Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy Postpartum Treat?
The muscles of your pelvic floor and abdomen stretch to accommodate your baby. Unfortunately, the strain of the baby’s weight, especially during vaginal delivery, can stretch and damage the muscles. Consequently, you may leak anytime you laugh, cough, or sneeze.
Fortunately, postpartum physiotherapy in Barrie, ON can treat pregnancy and childbirth-related injuries, including;
Incontinence is the loss of the ability to control your bladder. The bladder rests on the uterus. During pregnancy, the bladder compresses as the baby expands, making less space for urine. Consequently, there is an increased urge to urinate more frequently. Usually, this is temporary and resolves itself within a few weeks of childbirth.
However, there is an increased risk of incontinence after birth, depending on the number of children you have. In addition, both vaginal delivery and C-section stress the pelvic floor muscles, increasing the risk of incontinence.
Low Back Pain
Low back pain may persist after giving birth. This is very common whether you have a vaginal birth or c-section. During pregnancy, the expanding uterus stretches and weakens the abdominal muscles and alters your posture, consequently straining your back.
Other contributing factors to postpartum lower back pain include hormonal changes throughout the pregnancy and overworking the muscles, especially in a long or difficult labor. Furthermore, poor posture when breastfeeding your baby, hunching over, and stress contribute to low back pain.
Diastasis recti occur when the rectus abdominis muscles separate during pregnancy due to stretching. This condition is common in about 60% of pregnant women. Also, having more than one child, a heavy baby, twins, or triplets increases the risk of diastasis recti.
Diastasis recti often occur with a visible bulge protruding just above or below your belly button. Although the condition is not painful, you may experience painful intercourse, difficulty lifting objects, and weakness in your core.
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Labor and delivery stretch the pelvic floor muscles. As a result, these muscles experience trauma and may most likely go through a spasm. In addition, the weight of the growing child makes the pelvic floor muscles lax and prone to dysfunction.
The birthing process reduces the strength and tone of the pelvic floor, leading to pelvic pain, sexual dysfunction, or pelvic organ prolapse.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when the muscles supporting the pelvic organs become weak. This results in organ prolapse, causing them to press or droop into the vagina. Vaginal delivery increases the risk of this condition because the birthing process stresses the pelvic floor muscles. You most likely have pelvic organ prolapse if you feel fullness or a sense of pressure in your vagina without pain.
Postpartum Physiotherapy Treatments
Physiotherapy for postpartum use several techniques to boost health and improve well-being. These techniques include;
Diaphragmatic breathing is a breathing exercise that promotes efficient respiration, enhances relaxation, and improves the stability of the core muscles. This technique is not intense but is effective in reversing pregnancy-related injuries like pelvic organ prolapse, diastasis recti, and incontinence.
You can start diaphragmatic breathing the day after giving birth, whether in vaginal delivery or a c-section. Diaphragmatic breathing engages your core. As you inhale, expand your belly and allow your abdomen and pelvic floor to relax and expand. You can then exhale to empty your belly.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
The pelvic floor muscles are essential in sexual health. However, a dysfunction can cause incontinence, organ prolapse, pelvic pain, and painful intercourse. Pregnancy and childbirth can cause pelvic floor dysfunction.
Pelvic floor exercises can increase blood flow to the pelvic floor, helping the damaged tissues to heal. The exercises also strengthen the muscles to support the pelvic organs better. Your physiotherapist will recommend the best exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Usually, these exercises involve repeated contractions and the relaxing of the pelvic floor muscles.
In addition, your physiotherapist may use electric stimulation or biofeedback to increase the effectiveness of the exercises. Electrical stimulation excites the muscles using low-grade, safe electrical current to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Conversely, biofeedback lets you know if the exercises target the right muscles.
Hydrotherapy is a low-impact exercise program that improves general fitness, core strength, and pelvic muscle strength. This physiotherapy technique helps a mother relax and also bond with her baby. In addition, your physiotherapist will recommend exercises that target important muscle groups like your pelvic floor, abdominals, and upper and lower limb postural muscles.
Hydrotherapy postpartum benefits include assisting with returning to a healthy weight, reduced anxiety and depression, and improved emotional well-being.
Although hydrotherapy is low-impact, your physiotherapist will examine your medical history before recommending this treatment to prevent health emergencies.
Postpartum Physiotherapy Exercises
Postpartum exercises increase your energy and help you return to your weight before pregnancy. You may start low-impact exercises such as gentle stretches and walking almost immediately. Nevertheless, waiting six weeks before starting high-impact exercises like running is ideal. Your physiotherapist will let you know when it is safe to carry out specific exercises.
Furthermore, when exercising, it is crucial not to overexert yourself. Your body will let you know when you are exercising too hard. For example, you may need to slow down if you experience fatigue or muscle aches. Another sign of exertion includes color changes of the lochia from pink to red. Lochia is the postpartum vaginal flow. In addition, if you experience a heavier lochia flow or if it starts flowing again after it has stopped, you need to slow down.
Some safe postpartum exercises your physiotherapist may recommend include;
Gentle Tummy Exercise
This exercise is not vigorous and can strengthen your deep muscle layers. It can also help to tone your abdominal muscles and close the gap caused by pregnancy. You can carry out this exercise lying down, standing, or sitting. Your physiotherapist will guide you to ensure you do the exercise safely.
- Keep your lower back flat
- Breathe out and draw your belly button towards your spine. Do not flex or move your lower back
- Hold the position and breathe lightly
- Count to 10
- Relax and repeat the exercise 10 times per set
- Do sets of 10 as many times as possible throughout the day
Lower Abdominal Exercise
Due to its intensity, you should only carry out this exercise after your abdominal muscles have healed and the gap has closed.
- Lie on your back. Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor
- Contract your abdominal muscles
- Slowly slide your feet away from you to strengthen your legs. Ensure you straighten your legs without arching your lower back.
- Stop and slide your feet back towards you if your back starts arching
- Repeat the exercise 10 times for a set
- Aim to perform three sets
You can slide your feet further away as your lower abdominal muscles get stronger.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
This exercise strengthens your pelvic floor muscles, supporting your organs, including the vagina, uterus, bladder, and bowel. You can perform this exercise while sitting, standing, or lying down.
Before exercising, try to relax your abdominal muscles without holding your breath.
- Squeeze the muscle slowly and hold for about 10 seconds
- Release slowly. Repeat ten times
- Carry out quick, short, and hard squeezes. Repeat ten times.
- Squeeze the muscles and clear your throat or cough lightly. Repeat three times
- Aim to do these exercises 5 to 6 times every day
Why Should You Choose Postpartum Physiotherapy in Barrie, ON
Postpartum physiotherapy is essential for all women. Experienced physiotherapists develop treatment programs that suit your strength and condition. Consequently, the Concept of Movement Physiotherapy aims to boost your mood, improve your cardiovascular fitness, promote weight loss, and improve your quality of life.
Our physiotherapists will examine your medical history, condition severity, and posture to develop a customized treatment plan. We also understand how pregnancy and childbirth may affect your body image. And that is why we are willing to work with you to enhance your psychological well-being.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does Physio Do for Postpartum?
Postpartum Physiotherapy in Barrie, ON helps women through the physiological changes they experience during pregnancy and childbirth. Physio uses therapies and treatment techniques like pelvic floor training and therapeutic exercises to promote weight loss, strengthen the core, and improve sexual health.
Other benefits of physio for postpartum include improved mood, reduced postpartum depression and anxiety, and better psychological well-being.