How to care for your body during and after pregnancy
The amazing female body: Free March workshop 2019
For those of you who attended our pregnancy workshop in March, thank you! We are so glad we get to share our knowledge with our community.
We spent an hour and a half a few weeks ago talking about pregnancy, and about how to care for your body both during pregnancy and after delivery. Our presenters were the amazingly talented and knowledgeable physical therapists and mothers, Dr. Genevieve Richter and Dr. Nora Quintal. Dr. Quintal has written up a little blog to remind you of the things you may already have forgotten, or to enlighten you if you missed this free community course. Enjoy (as a mother and physical therapist, I certainly did)!
Child birth has been compared to running a marathon, you must prepare and train for it. While I have never ran a marathon in my life, I have given birth to a beautiful girl. The amazing changes that our female bodies experience through pregnancy, during and after labor are significant.
Thank you to all that joined us in learning about the changes that our bodies experience during pregnancy, childbirth and the healing it takes to recover.
Relaxin, a hormone that kicks in during pregnancy makes our bodies more loosey-goosey, so we can make room for the baby to grow and travel through the birth canal. While this means we become more flexible, our proprioception changes as our joints are not as stable. Strengthening and stabilization training are key to protect our bodies during this stage.
As we make room for our babies to grow in our womb, organs shift around, breathing patterns change and our posture changes. Although our bodies are so smart, recognizing postural changes and addressing them can help minimize discomfort during and after pregnancy. Using breathing techniques to promote rib mobility improve posture can also be very helpful.
It was once assumed that it takes our bodies 40 days to recover from childbirth, when it really takes 1 to 2 years to fully recover from all those changes. Giving your body time to heal is crucial. While it may take 40 days to get into a routine and become functional after having a baby, your body needs time for organs to return to their place, for muscles and organs to get back to their previous size. We must also consider that returning to our previous level of activity guidelines are relative, returning to walking or swimming may take less time than returning to cross fit or running marathons.
While doing kegels is a piece of the recovery puzzle, there is a lot more to it. Some of us experience tears during childbirth, in this case scar tissue mobilization and stretching can be very helpful. Just as strengthening is important, learning to relax the pelvic floor is crucial. The trauma that our pelvic floor goes through can turn off muscles, relearning how to engage them may take some coaching.
Abdominal pain, back and hip pain, pain during intercourse, urgency and frequency are some of the common things that we deal with after having a baby, all of which we can address with women’s health physical therapy. If you are dealing with any of these symptoms I urge you seek help from a women’s health physical therapist.
Strengthening and stretching key muscles, understanding our postural changes, and allowing for appropriate healing times before transitioning our return to our previous exercise level were some of the key topics we touched on during our workshop. While we shared and went over a few exercises that are helpful during and after pregnancy, I urge you to take initiative and seek further education with a physical therapist that can further guide you, help you prepare and recover from pregnancy and childbirth.
Dr. Nora Quintal joined Langford in 2017 after working at PT at Dawn for 2 years. She works with a range of outpatient orthopedic patients, and enjoys working with neck and shoulder pain and injuries. Nora graduated from UNM with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.
Nora loves playing tennis and practicing yoga and pilates, and she spends her free time taking care of her "tiny human". Nora is from Mexico and works with many of our Spanish-speaking clients so that she can provide better patient-centered care.
What if you’re hurt, or can’t do these movements well or without pain?
Let us know. We would be happy to help you, through individualized physical therapy with our experienced physical therapists. Contact us today to get started! Remember, you might not need a referral to see a physical therapist, so call our office today and see how you can get started. Have a wonderful ski season!
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Thank you again, and please be sure to swing back in, either to see a PT for an injury, work with Julie for an injury risk screening, or to try a MovNat class or run on the AlterG.