Prenatal / Postpartum Care

Prenatal / Postpartum Care


Much can be done to support the pregnant and postpartum woman. You do not have to live with pain just because you are pregnant. And you do not have to live with bladder leaking or weakness just because you had a baby. These are not normal conditions for anyone, whether or not you’ve had a baby. There are successful interventions available through physical therapy to address pain and disability specifically related to pregnancy and childbirth. Dr. Stendahl is qualified to treat women of high risk pregnancies as well, and has her Certificate of Achievement in Prenatal/Postpartum Physical Therapy from the American Physical Therapy Association. Conditions treated include:

  • Back and hip pain
  • Cesarean section pain, numbness, and weakness
  • Diastasis recti abdominis
  • Dyspareunia (painful intercourse)
  • Incontinence – bowel or bladder
  • Labor and delivery preparation
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Pubic symphysis pain
  • Round ligament pain
  • Scar tissue management (Cesarean or perineal)
  • SI Joint pain
  • Vaginismus
  • Vulvodynia

Every pregnant woman deserves a musculoskeletal assessment and personalized preparation for childbirth. It is highly recommended that every pregnant woman receive prenatal physical therapy, regardless of symptoms, to address predisposing factors to pain or injury during pregnancy and childbirth (such as poor posture, herniated discs, hip impingement, constipation, etc.), and to prepare for labor and delivery to minimize risk of injury to the pelvic floor. Additionally, every woman deserves consistent and continual postpartum rehab care beyond the first six weeks. Rehab during the first several months postpartum offers the opportunity for return to stable and normal function with reduced risk of future issues. Here is what the minimum plan of care looks like with Stendahl PT (may include more visits if addressing specific pain or disability):

First Prenatal Visit:

  • Musculoskeletal assessment – posture, alignment, mobility, strength, stability
  • Pelvic floor assessment – kegel strength, ability to contract and relax the muscles, ability to bear down properly (pelvic floor assessment depends on trimester)
  • Breathing patterns and breath coordination during exercise and functional movements, including diaphragmatic breathing
  • Technique for getting out of bed, lifting, squatting, etc. to avoid injury to abdomen and pelvic floor
  • Sleep positions Toilet management (reducing constipation or leaking as needed)
  • Core strengthening exercises
  • Rehab exercises (as needed) for pain management and function

Second Prenatal Visit: (encouraged to bring partner to this visit)

  • Labor and delivery positions to avoid injury, specific to your body and any pre-existing pain or injury (including disc herniations, hip problems, joint pain, etc.)
  • Labor pain management techniques
  • Postpartum scar tissue management plan activities or running, the PT care may span longer or include more frequent visits to ensure safe progression to these activities

Third Prenatal Visit: (at least 36 weeks pregnant)

  • Perineal massage
  • Push prep
  • Review of labor & delivery positions to avoid injury, specific to your body and any preexisting pain or injury
  • Early postpartum exercise plan

Post-Partum Visits:

  • A series of appointments covering at least 4-6 months postpartum
  • First visit within the first 2 months postpartum and/or after your 6-week checkup
  • Will address pain, injury, scar tissue, general fitness, pelvic floor recovery, diastasis recti (abdominal wall separation), and return to exercise programming If returning to higher intensity