Physical therapists are known for helping through the continuum of care in areas such as orthopedics, neurological issues, cardiac rehab, cancer rehab, pediatrics, geriatrics, etc… Why would we treat Prenatal and Postpartum any different?
Pelvic floor functions: sphincter control (bladder/bowel), support (organs and structures above), sexual function, stabilize
-during pregnancy any of these functions may be challenged
-PFM play a prime role in bladder and bowel control as well as high importance with sexual function and stability!
People get yearly physicals/checks up. People are sent to rehabilitation after surgery or due to an illness and weakened. Our bodies change year to year. Add on a pregnancy to that year. Pelvic floor PTs assess the body and its function specifically for the changes during pregnancy. The assessment is unlike any other medical professional.
Pelvic floor PTs do way more than teach Kegels (aka pelvic floor exercises).
A new baby requires new skills by the postpartum person such as feeding, dressing and bathing. This creates new stressors in the neck, shoulders, low back and hips. All can be addressed with some visits to a pelvic floor PT!
What about for people who have C-section? Well like mentioned above we are assessing more than pelvic floor muscles. Abdominal wall can be weakened by any pregnancy, now add on scar and discomfort. No matter the delivery method, your pelvic floor changes and works really hard during pregnancy.
For some women, everything is great postpartum. Others not so much. If we ignore their issues there is a good chance it might worsen in a future pregnancy or interfere with their quality of life. Imagine urinary incontinence where you stop exercising because you are always wet and it is beyond embarrassing and irritating to the skin. Imagine painful intercourse and feeling shamed. Imagine not being able to care for your child because your spine has weaknesses or mobility issues. Imagine not being able to sit because your coccyx was injured during delivery. Imagine not being able to walk because your Pubic Symphysis is off alignment and inflamed.
These are all real stories we hear from people postpartum (and during pregnancy).
I can easily add to this list of benefits, but I hope I have made a start to your understanding!