In today’s episode, we’re talking about pelvic floor physical therapy versus corrective exercise. What are they? And why would you need either one?
This is a really important discussion to have because this information is not being adequately shared with new moms. Some doctors might dismiss postpartum hip pain, stomach pain, rib pain or shoulder pain, or try to minimize them.
And many won’t mention things like physical therapy or corrective exercise unless you ask about it – and of course, it’s hard as a new mom to know WHAT to ask for if you don’t know it exists!
So without further ado, here are our opinions on each, plus some things to think about when considering them – or a combination of the two! – for your postpartum healing.
Remember, the goal is to get you BACK to general fitness so you can do the things you love without underlying health issues holding you back. PT and corrective exercise isn’t forever; they’re just steps in the right direction.
Why new moms need special attention
Just like we talked about in earlier episodes, there are so many impacts pregnancy has on the body. Your ribs and hips shift, which affects your knees and ankles, your tendons and ligaments.
What’s more, these shifts might make you feel disconnected from your body and at a loss of where to start. Some moms don’t start at all – which we think is a big mistake! Muscles MOVE our bones when we’re pregnant, and it can make an affected posture permanent if nothing’s done about it.
It’s so easy to get frustrated about still having a pooch, or not being able to catch your breath, but there’s a good chance your body is working OVERTIME trying to find the strength and steadiness in this expanded skeletal structure.
Let’s be clear about what we’re talking about when it comes to bringing the body back into good alignment; it’s not about body composition or getting to a certain weight. It’s about helping your muscles and connective tissue perform at full capacity so you can live the life you love without pain.
Pelvic floor physical therapy
Physical therapists are licensed healthcare professionals who treat with medical diagnoses and deal a lot with physical traumas, specific injuries – in terms of birth, it could be vaginal tearing or prolapse – and post-surgery rehab.
A pelvic floor physical therapist is specifically focused on the pelvic floor and issues that come up in pregnancy and postpartum, like bowel or bladder issues, incontinence, painful intercourse and constipation, etc.
In the U.S., it is not a given that mothers go to pelvic floor therapy, whereas in other countries, like France, they get 10 to 12 pelvic floor therapy appointments included in a postpartum plan.
We believe every mother should have an evaluation by a pelvic floor PT, even if it’s just to get baseline information and establish that relationship for the future.
If you have a medical diagnosis, physical injury, have been told by your doctor you need surgery for something, or if you have acute pain that’s keeping you from living your everyday life, your first stop is PT.
If you’ve been cleared to exercise by your doctor but everything feels a bit off – then you might want to start with a corrective exercise specialist.
We are corrective exercise specialists.
Corrective exercise is a method of exercise training that uses the science of biomechanics and neural programming to fix movement compensation patterns.
It’s a fancy way of saying we help turn on the right muscles and get the cranky muscles to calm down. We do not diagnose or treat medical conditions but we do account for them in our work, and we often work alongside physical therapists.
We look for any existing imbalances and evaluate a client’s muscle and skeletal system for places where muscles feel stuck. Clients say it’s like a gentle, reawakening experience. There’s also a huge mind-body connection to corrective exercise. We are rewiring the way our muscles connect and fire and how we hold our bodies.
If you want to make the most out of your time with your PT and integrate what they’re teaching you in your PT sessions into your lifestyle, then doing pelvic floor physical therapy and corrective exercise at the same time is a really good solution.
Notable Quotes from Kendra & Nicole
“Many medical providers don't mention things like PT, and definitely not corrective exercise, because they don't really know what it is, unless you ask for it. And of course, it's hard for you as a mom to know what to ask for if you don't know it exists, or you don't know why it exists!”
“Our goal is to get you back to general fitness where you don't have underlying issues holding you back and you can do all the things you love to do. So that's the goal, right? You're not going to be doing PT and or corrective exercise forever. It's a stair step, a really important one, on your way to those even more exciting and fun things that you love doing.”
Resources & Links
Looking for support to stay active during your pregnancy or start your postpartum recovery? Here are some options to get you started on a great path forward:
1) Take the Pelvic Floor & Core Strength Quiz. After taking the quiz, you'll get a score and based on your results, guidance on what steps to take to move you forward in your recovery.
3) If you're pregnant, want to be way more active than you have been, AND want connection with other mothers, but don't know where to start…join the Expecting to Flourish™ Membership - a mom-driven and expert-guided virtual space empowering moms with a new approach to prenatal fitness and birth prep that actually prepares you for the physical and emotional hurdles of motherhood.
If you’re postpartum and ready to get moving, need to heal your body but you don’t know where to start…join us for Postpartum Repair & Restore LIVE, a science-backed and fun-stacked, Diastasis and Pelvic Floor Strength program. Start healing your diastasis and eliminating leaking in 8 weeks or less with our guidance.
4) Do you prefer working one-on-one, or have a high risk pregnancy, a severe diastasis or leaking that won’t quit? You might be a candidate to work with us privately. To find out, take this quick self assessment! If you qualify, you'll be invited to schedule a complementary Postpartum Strategy Session with us where we'll take a good look at what's not working in your repair process, and come up with a great plan just for you.