During pregnancy, the body goes through many musculoskeletal and hormonal changes that can alter core and pelvic floor function. These changes help support the growing baby, but they can also lead to pain and dysfunction for the mom. Studies show that about 50% of women will experience lower back pain during their pregnancy and this pain can continue to persist postpartum.1 Due to the increased pressure on the pelvic floor, it is also common to have difficulty with bowel, bladder, and sexual function. Physical therapists can play a vital role in managing pain and pelvic floor dysfunction during pregnancy, and preventing these issues from continuing after childbirth.
Following childbirth, all women should have a pelvic floor assessment by a physical therapist, after being cleared by their physician. This assessment can help determine readiness to return to exercise and address any pain or pelvic floor dysfunction. It is common to have symptoms such as pain, urinary leakage, or a sensation of “heaviness” in the pelvis after childbirth, but these symptoms don’t have to be your new normal. That means no matter how many kids you have had, you don’t have to live your life leaking every time you sneeze or jump. A pelvic health physical therapist can perform an assessment of your core and pelvic floor function, posture, and movement patterns to determine the cause of your symptoms and help you return to the activities you love to do.
1. Katonis P, Kampouroglou A, Aggelopoulos A, et al. Pregnancy-related low back pain. Hippokratia. 2011;15(3):205–210.
What happens when your pelvis gets in the way of enjoying life?
• Sudden urges to urinate
• Leaking with exercise
• Frequent or painful urination
• Low back pain
• Painful sexual intercourse
• Abdominal pain or weakness
• Pelvic pressure and heaviness
While these symptoms are common, they are not normal and could be a sign of having pelvic floor dysfunction. This is defined as an impaired ability to control (tighten and relax) your pelvic floor muscles.
If this sounds like you, click here to find an Activcore location to get help now.
The pelvic floor is made up of muscles and fascia that form a sling spanning across the bottom of your pelvis. It consists of 14 muscles for women. All of these muscles, in combination with other “core” muscles, must be functioning properly to ensure a healthy pelvis. Together they support your organs, reinforce upright posture, and help control bladder, bowel, and sexual function.
Just like any other muscle in the body, the pelvic floor muscles can succumb to injury and dysfunction. Also, similar to a torn ACL or a rotator cuff injury, the pelvic floor typically responds very well to strength training or vice versa, to downtraining and relaxation.
There are many changes that happen to the body to accommodate the growing baby during pregnancy — the diaphragm is pushed up, the ribs are spread out to the sides, the abdominal wall is stretched and weakened, and there is increased downward pressure on the pelvic floor. Childbirth then results in additional stress and/or injury to the pelvic floor and abdominal wall.
During a vaginal delivery, the pelvic floor muscles stretch a lot and can be injured with tearing. With a C-section, an incision is made through the abdominal muscles and uterus to remove the baby. These physical changes that happen during pregnancy and delivery can disrupt your brain's capacity to switch on your core and pelvic floor muscles, at the right time, and with the right amount of strength. Known as neuromuscular deactivation, this process tends to pull you out of balance and into a vicious cycle of pain, weakness and dysfunction.
Pelvic health is typically not a big part of a physical therapist’s education. It is a specialization requiring much further study, training and practice following graduation.
Activcore physical therapists are uniquely qualified to assess and treat women during pregnancy and after childbirth. They go beyond the pelvic floor and look at the whole body to find the source of any symptoms. Equipped with the Redcord suspension system and other industry leading tools, they are specially trained to optimize how your mind and pelvis work together so that you can regain control of your body. Your treatment will always be tailored to your specific impairments and goals. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment approach.
You’re never just a number at Activcore. You will have your own dedicated pelvic health physical therapist (not an aide) by your side throughout every session.
In a private office setting, your physical therapist will perform a comprehensive physical exam and movement screen to help determine the underlying root cause of your pelvic health condition. Together, you and your provider will then develop and commit to a plan of care tailored to your individual needs, lifestyle and goals.
You will feel the Activcore difference from your first visit. A highly personalized experience applying the latest breakthrough techniques in pelvic health, such as pelvic floor muscle retraining, trigger point dry needling, manual therapy (myofascial release), neuromuscular activation, Pilates, and biofeedback. You will also receive a home exercise program customized just for you.
“My delivery and my postpartum recovery has been a breeze. Activcore was a lifesaver not only with my pelvic floor dysfunction but with my back and neck issues. Activcore was the secret weapon for getting my body back!”
In this day of specialties and specialists, I didn’t expect Activcore to consider the way my entire body worked. In addition to helping me with my bladder issues, they also strengthened my spine and stabilized my balance. I would recommend Activcore to anyone who wants to improve pelvic function and health.
Post Partum moms- seriously look no further. I am so lucky to have found Activcore. I had twins this past summer and it left me with a 3 finger wide gap in my abdomen and severe lower back issues.
My physical therapist was able to fix the positioning of my hips (which were uneven) within the first session and after just two months, got my 3 finger gap to just over a half a finger. I seriously did not think it was possible. I am finally feeling like my body is getting back to pre-pregnancy. And I truly owe it all to my PT.
Activcore is a gem of a company. From the front staff, to the equipment, to the value of what you are paying for. I could not recommend them more!
I have been going to Activcore for the past month and I could not be happier with my results. Post-pregnancy I had been suffering from upper and lower back pain and pelvic floor dysfunctions which I was told post-delivery would resolve; which it did not. Since starting Activcore in September, my back pain has resolved and I have made significant gains in my core and overall upper and lower body strength. I have to say at first I was skeptical because I have many friends, who even years after pregnancy, still suffer from post-pregnancy problems. My physical therapist reassured me that Activcore would help and to give it a try. I did and within a few visits I could feel the difference and I have been able to carry over what I learned into my workout routine; which I can now perform pain free and some of the movements have become easier. I highly recommend them.