Rebuilding My Body After Birth (Part I)
Almost four years ago, my midwife sent me to physical therapy after having an uncomplicated vaginal delivery. Why would I need this? What was wrong with me? Thankfully, my midwife did a very thorough postpartum checkup and she told me that my pelvic floor was weak. See, when a baby hangs out inside you for 9 months, it changes things. Organs get moved, muscles get stretched, and things are not the same. In addition to a weak pelvic floor, I had pretty bad diastasis recti. Diastasis recti is when your abs separate and it is fairly common in pregnancy – to see if this has happened to you, do a quick test.
So what’s wrong with a weak pelvic floor? The muscles in your pelvic floor connect to everything in your back and core. When one area of muscles is weak, it starts to break down the whole system. You start to overcompensate in one area due to weakness in another area. You can end up with all sorts of problems. My problems manifested in back pain. BAD back pain.
Pregnancy is hard on your body. It takes intentional effort to rebuild and recover.
The good news is that you don’t have to live this way! There are physical therapists that specialize in women’s health. After my first two boys were born in 2012 and 2014, I saw Rhonda at Integrative Therapies and she was incredible. She made me work muscles that I didn’t even know existed and she helped me get back on the road to recovery. You can read a little about their program. I used the exercises I learned after each pregnancy to help me recover and get strong again.
After my most recent baby in June of 2016, I wanted to go back to see Rhonda, but Integrative Therapies is out of network for my current insurance. Because of that, I changed providers and I’m now seeing Cheryl Gray and Jennifer Cochran at Cone Health Outpatient Rehab at Brassfield. I’ve only been twice, but so far I’m really enjoying the care there. Both locations specialize in women’s health and pelvic floor health, but the offices have different atmospheres – In my opinion, Cone Health is much like a hospital and Integrative Therapies is more like a birth center. Nevertheless, both accomplish the same purpose and both have excellent care providers.
The hard part about physical therapy is that it takes dedicated effort to continue to do the work at home. I hope to give an update in a month or so to let you know how my journey is going! My diasastis recti after this most recent pregnancy is BAD and my back pain has been debilitating at times. I have to make getting stronger a priority. When I was at my first physical therapy appointment last week, I was talking to Cheryl about the belly binding that Sarah does. I used this awesome method after my third baby was born some, but I got slack and quit doing it. Well, Cheryl told me that I need to do it daily! So I’ve started doing it again and I can already feel relief in my back. I’m sure it’s a combination of the physical therapy exercises and the belly binding.
Feel free to ask me questions and I look forward to sharing more of my journey!