Q: What was your awareness of how your body worked before having kids?
A: “I guess I would say I was pretty aware. I’ve always been a health conscious person . . . keep track of what’s going on. I’m in the medical field, so I’m health oriented. I was exercising and had lost a bit of weight before my daughter was born.”
Q: What changes did you experience after having children?
A: “There were a lot of things that I did not realize would change about my body after having a vaginal delivery. I started to have quite a bit of incontinence. When I first had my son . . . I had no awareness ‘down there’ and I remember very well when I was getting up from the hospital bed to go to the bathroom and I literally peed across the floor. It was horrible. Then after that, I had the awareness that I had to be a little more diligent.”
Q: How did you hear about Women’s Health Physical Therapy?
A: “I belonged to a mothering circle here in Richmond, and Dr. Cora Huitt had gone to Franklin Goose to do a talk about Postpartum Strong®, and women’s physical therapy . . . and so when I went to the group, one of the gals mentioned it and I was like ‘hmm’ . . . it was like a little light bulb went off. I looked up their practice and saw that they focused on issues like incontinence, and I did have a second degree tear with my vaginal delivery, and so I was anxious about returning to sex. With a C-section, although it is a whole different type of recovery, I didn’t have a difficult recovery and I didn’t have any issues ‘down there’. It was just all abdominal muscles.
“When I went in for my six week appointment, I asked my OB [about women’s health PT] and she said, ‘Oh, sure’, and filled out the referral.”
Q: What did you learn in your Postpartum Strong® sessions?”
A: “I learned that, even prior to having babies, I didn’t have any awareness of my pelvic floor muscles at all. I did do pre-natal yoga with my daughter, and they would talk about strengthening your pelvic floor during the yoga sessions, but . . . after my experience here [Women’s Health Physical Therapy], I realized that I really didn’t know what that meant.”
“Also, when I came here [Women’s Health Physical Therapy], I was diagnosed with a diastasis, which is a separation of the abdominal muscles . . . and I had no idea that I had that. Now guessing that I had two kids back-to-back, my diastasis probably never fully healed after my daughter was born and then having my son so immediately after . . . so that was something I didn’t even know about. So, coming here [Women’s Health Physical Therapy] I learned about both of those [diagnoses] and I learned about some pelvic floor exercises, I learned about massage that can help relax the muscles and the tissues and can help with sexual functioning . . . and also strengthening my abdominal muscles.”
“I’ve learned a lot and they [therapists] have been very thorough and both of the female therapists are very kind and warmhearted and make you feel like this is really an important thing. When you go to your six week appointment, it’s very . . . ‘Okay, everything looks fine – you’re healed, you can go’ . . . But, even though you are ‘healed’, there are still issues going on that if you didn’t know to come for services [pelvic floor therapy], you would just live with those issues and not realize that it doesn’t have to be that way.”
“You don’t have to tinkle your pants every time you go to the bathroom.”
Q: Would you recommend pelvic floor physical therapy?
A: “I have told a lot of women, who have had babies, how important it is to try to come here [Women’s Health Physical Therapy] after they have their babies, because I found that it was invaluable. You just think that this [issues] is just the way it’s supposed to be and you don’t realize that there is help for that.”
“If you bust your knee, you know that you need physical therapy to be able to walk . . . I’ve already recommended this to people and told them to keep it in mind for after they have their babies. I think it’s invaluable.”
“I think that a lot of women just focus on getting their pre-baby body back . . . in terms of no fat, and abs and being strong . . . but it’s important to go from the inside out. They taught me that even if I went back to the gym and started doing hard core abdominal muscle workouts, I would ruin the abdominal muscles I have now because of the diastasis that I didn’t even know about. How many other women are out there causing more harm than good when they are trying to get on the right track.“