Prenatal / Postpartum Care

Prenatal / Postpartum Care

You do not have to live with pain just because you are pregnant; or bladder leaking or “mummy tummy” just because you had a baby. There are successful interventions available through physical therapy to address symptoms specifically related to pregnancy and childbirth. It should be standard care that every pregnant and postpartum person receive preventive and rehabilitative care, regardless of symptoms. Dr. Stendahl has extensive experience in this area, and is also qualified to treat women of high risk pregnancies. She has her Certificate of Achievement in Prenatal/Postpartum Physical Therapy from the American Physical Therapy Association. Conditions treated include:

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

Prenatal PT  seeks to improve the pregnancy experience, prepare for childbirth, and reduce the risk of injury during pregnancy and childbirth. Postpartum PT guides return to full function and fitness postpartum with reduced risk of issues later in life. Here is what the minimum recommended 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 coordination during exercise and functional movements, including diaphragmatic breathing
  • Technique for getting out of bed, lifting, squatting, etc. to avoid injury
  • Sleep positions for comfort
  • Toilet management (reducing constipation or incontinence as needed)
  • Core strengthening exercises
  • Rehab exercises for pain management and function

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

  • Labor and delivery positions for comfort, to avoid injury, facilitate labor progression, and improve fetal position in the pelvis
  • Knowledge for protecting pre-existing pain or injury like disc herniations, hip problems, joint pain, etc. during your birth experience
  • Labor pain management techniques (self and partner)

Third Prenatal Visit: (at least 36 weeks pregnant)

  • Perineal massage
  • Push prep
  • Early postpartum exercise plan
  • Postpartum scar tissue management 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 abdominis, and return to exercise programming
  • If returning to higher intensity exercise, PT may be recommended up to 12 months postpartum for guided progression (visits are often once per month)