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Postpartum Doesn’t Last 6 Weeks – Learn the Lasting Effects of Birth

Once you have babies, your body changes. That’s why we always say: once postpartum, always postpartum. Contrary to popular belief by our society, the postpartum period isn’t confined to the conventional 6 week timeline. To grow and birth humans is an extensive job. Think about it! Along with an expanding uterus and developing a new organ (the placenta), all the muscles, bones, fascia, and organs must squish and move in order to make room for the growing baby. Although the physical and emotional adjustments are well documented during the postpartum time frame, it’s essential to recognize the enduring impacts of childbirth well after the beginning of the postpartum stage.

For many women and birthing people, the postpartum period is a challenging and transformative time. They no longer feel like the priority to most of their medical providers. The focus has shifted to the new bundle of joy who has taken center stage. It’s so important not to overlook the 4th trimester, where it’s common to hear “congratulations, great job, take things slow, pain is to be expected,” etc. This generalized advice overshadows the unique challenges that mothers are left navigating within a new reality of lingering pain, discomfort, and changes.

The Challenges With Postpartum Life

Generations of women have hobbled home in pain, enduring fears and concerns that have been dismissed and result in larger issues later in life. Issues like prolapse happen postpartum because a human is physically pushed out of the mother’s body, and the pressure from that can cause other organs to be pushed out as well. Incontinence, chronic pain in the neck, back, hips, and knees, as well as diastasis recti (abdominal muscle separation) are common.

During a c-section, 7 layers of tissue and muscles are cut through, resulting in very dense scarring. Without proper help to heal that tissue and retrain the muscles, women will go years without appropriately using their deep core muscles. Their body relies on other muscles to provide stability. They then come up with compensatory movement patterns that can lead to more problems over time, like asymmetry in the pelvis.

Several of these conditions are unfortunately dismissed as “normal” and should “go away on their own,” which leads to a culture of mom-shaming and lacking attention and care to individual concerns. It’s not uncommon for women in their 70s to discover pelvic floor therapy, only when faced with the prospect of yet another surgery.

Fifty plus years after giving birth, these women finally find out that there is a way to relieve the pain, worry, and limitations they have endured for far too long. This revelation we often see emphasizes the urgent need to shift the narrative around postpartum care, and encourage proactive measures for long-term well-being.

A Global Perspective

In other countries like France and England, women are routinely prescribed pelvic floor physical therapy as part of postpartum care. Unlike some healthcare practices in the United States that focus on treating issues only after they arise, these nations prioritize preventative care. It’s the postpartum prescription many American moms are denied. Pelvic floor physical therapy is recognized as a very valuable tool in preventing postpartum complications, limiting birth injuries, and promoting healing.

Empowering Postpartum Health

Recognizing the broader role of the pelvic floor in overall health is the crucial first step to prevent long-term repercussions. Rather than accepting compensatory measures, prioritizing pelvic floor health early on, especially through Pelvic Floor Therapy in postpartum care, empowers individuals to proactively address concerns and mitigate the risk of future complications.

The fourth trimester deserves just as much attention as the first three. It’s time to break the cycle of silence and ensure women receive the care they deserve. Here at Body Motion Physical Therapy,we help women through fertility, pregnancy, birth, postpartum and beyond so they can live active, confident, healthy lives without the need for unnecessary surgeries or medications!

AUTHOR

Allison Feldt

Body Motion Physical Therapy

"We Help Women Through Fertility, Pregnancy, Birth, Postpartum and Beyond So They Can Live Active, Confident, Healthy Lives Without The Need For Medication Or Surgery"
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