Prepartum Physical Therapy
Prepartum Physical Therapy can reduce complications during childbirth.
Physical therapy should be a standard of care both during and after pregnancy. For example, in France every new mom is automatically referred to physical therapy for a few visits preventively before and after she delivers a baby.
At Sarton Physical Therapy, our physical therapists are trained to assist in the specific musculoskeletal needs of a patient during pregnancy and after the arrival of a new baby. When designing a treatment and exercise program for each patient, we closely follow the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology guidelines for exercise during and after pregnancy. Our practice focuses on both preventive care as well as specialized rehabilitation in the event of pre/postpartum musculoskeletal problems. We can address new problems that arise during the physical and psychological stress the body is under and/or help patients who have existing dysfunction that is exacerbated during pregnancy.
Our therapists enjoy working with patients and their physicians with the goal of ensuring a healthy, active, and comfortable pregnancy. Our prepartum services help women achieve maximum pelvic floor and musculoskeletal function to optimize delivery and prevent perineal tearing and other postpartum dysfunctions. We teach perineal massage and partner training for perineal massage to be completed routinely prior to delivery. Randomized clinical trials of perineal massage have shown its effectiveness in reducing tearing during delivery (1). Our goal is to help prevent tearing of the perineum during birth and prevent the need for an episiotomy.
Additionally, prenatal exercises can enhance body awareness, flexibility, and endurance. The pelvic floor muscles and core stabilizing muscles are intimately involved in the childbirth process. These muscles function at their maximum potential when they are lengthened, strengthened, and free of myofascial trigger points. Our physical therapists can individually examine each muscle internally and externally. If impairments are found, the physical therapist can treat the problems with manual therapy and exercise resulting in improved function and a safe foundation upon which a therapeutic exercise program can be completed. To ensure the best results, the therapists at Sarton Physical Therapy always spend an hour with each patient during every appointment.
Common prepartum complaints that our Physical Therapists treat:
- Painful intercourse
- Low back pain
- Urine leakage due to strained pelvic muscles
- Separation of the rectus abdominus muscle (diastasis recti)
- Neck pain or headaches due to posture changes
- Colorectal dysfunction
- Sciatic, hip, sacral, coccyx, pubic symphysis or tailbone pain
- Urinary urgency and frequency
- Tightness and pain in the legs due to the flattening of the feet
Our evaluation and treatment includes addressing the following areas:
- External and internal pelvic floor muscles – length, strength, motor control
- Connective tissue including fascial restriction and scar mobility
- Adverse neural tension
- Structure and biomechanics
- Functional limitations and deficits
Women can easily increase their potential for successful vaginal deliveries with less perineal tearing, levator ani avulsion and post-partum pain and dysfunction.
Let our expert Physical Therapists with advanced board certification in pelvic floor physical therapy help. Please contact Sarton Physical Therapy with any questions or to have your patients schedule an appointment.
(1) Kalichman, Leonid. (2008). Perineal massage to prevent perineal trauma in childbirth. The Israel Medical Association journal : IMAJ. 10. 531-3.