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When Should I See a Physical Therapist Postpartum?

Postpartum is a time period that society, at least Western culture, never prepares us for. We go to birth classes and there are books about pregnancy, but not a lot of info about the immediate postpartum period. This is often a time when we don’t know what happened to our bodies, we are exhausted and sometimes feel as if we will never be ourselves again. Time will pass and each week we will begin to emerge from this fog.

But first, we must rest. And bond with our new baby. Protect this sacred time. Learn to say no. Learn to ask for help. All things our Western, independent culture has told us are signs of weakness. Moms and birthing parents sometimes it feels like we have worked our entire lives to prove we are equal and we can do whatever the opposite sex can do. And mama you can! But this is a time to take a step back, rest, ask for help, nurture yourself and your body.

I like this saying “5 days in the bed, 5 days on the bed and 5 days near the bed.” I think this is great postpartum advice. Slow down, rest, heal. Your body just went through an amazing physical feat, whether you had a vaginal birth or a cesarean section. It needs time to rest and recover.

I’ve had a lot of very new postpartum moms calling me recently to schedule a pelvic floor evaluation, which is amazing they know about it and are being proactive! However, 2 weeks is too soon. Here are the guidelines for when to see a pelvic floor physical therapist when you are postpartum.

  1. Wait until the bleeding stops. We can’t do a full pelvic floor evaluation if you are still bleeding.

  2. Generally, schedule around 3-4 weeks postpartum. You can come see us before your 6 week check up with the doctor.

  3. Sooner is better, but it is never too late (moms of teenagers, menopausal women). The sooner you come in we can get you started on appropriate postpartum exercises or stretches if that is what you need. We can teach you appropriate strategies for how you move throughout your day in order to help you heal.

Awesome job moms who want to be proactive about their pelvic health and postpartum recovery! Just slow down a little bit, for those who are calling to schedule at 2 weeks postpartum, and know that your body is still recovering.

For moms and birthing people who are just now hearing about this, it is never too late for pelvic floor therapy. We can help with urine leakage, constipation, pelvic pain, painful sex, prolapse and diastasis recti to name a few.

I’ll see you at 3-4 weeks postpartum!

PS That is not my baby, but my friend's baby.

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