As we see women during their pregnancies, we are often asked “when should I come back to see you”? This is a great question because we strongly recommend that EVERY postpartum woman see a pelvic therapist following every birth. While this will depend on a lot of factors for the new mom, we can see her as early as 2-3 weeks after her delivery regardless of vaginal vs c-section delivery. While this has not always been the recommendation in the larger medical world or discussed among mothers, the tide is changing and more experts in postpartum health are coming on board with the assertion that all women deserve to be cared for in the postpartum period.
“The weeks following birth are a critical period for a woman and her infant, setting the stage for long-term health and well-being. To optimize the health of women and infants, postpartum care should become an ongoing process, rather than a single encounter, with services and support tailored to each woman’s individual needs.”
A lot can transpire in those early weeks postpartum with a new mom’s recovery journey. Sometimes there can be immediate issues such as urinary leakage or pelvic organ prolapse. Other women may have had a tear during delivery and have been told they will need to work with a therapist to help with recovery. This is when a visit as early as 2-3 weeks postpartum is definitely appropriate. And still many moms will not have any urgent issues and can wait a couple more weeks before seeing a pelvic therapist.
Ways a therapist can help in the early weeks:
If a mom is not yet 6 weeks postpartum, we will usually defer an internal pelvic floor assessment in which we test muscle function and strength as well as screen for pain or tenderness. We may do a visual assessment if they have had a perineal tear to confirm they are healing well, but have plenty of other things we can assess beyond the pelvic floor and help with.
We will assess all other areas impacted during and after pregnancy including neck and back health, ribcage mobility and breathing, and educate mom on postpartum healing concepts, how to lift the infant car seat safely, how to reduce downward pressure on the pelvic floor with daily movements and activities, and how to find ways to decompress the neck and back after hours of baby holding and nursing or feeding.
The first visit, if in the first 2-3 weeks can be a virtual one if traveling away from home is a challenge. After this time, we are happy to see you in the clinic where we can give you the TLC you deserve. Appointments often include hands on therapy to help with sore neck and back or hip muscles as we meet moms where they are at and help them on their personal healing journey. We will always be realistic with any recommendations for exercises or homework in those early months as we are here to help our clients find success instead of overwhelm.
Is there a time limit to seeing a pelvic therapist postpartum?
Nope! Once postpartum, always postpartum! Very often, we see moms who are 3, 4, 5 and even 10+ years postpartum. If their body assumed a dysfunctional pattern after their pregnancy, their body will usually continue in this pattern for years unless they are guided towards correcting it. This can include patterns where the core and pelvic floor muscles feel disconnected or where the deep core muscles have assumed a pattern of staying chronically tense. Both can result in pelvic health and back issues. The GOOD news is that we can help moms reconnect their core muscles and resolve issues like tension or pain long after delivery. But we wouldn’t recommend waiting that long!
Connect with us and let us help you on your postpartum journey.