Dispelling 5 Pregnancy/Postpartum myths

https://www.flickr.com/photos/harinaivoteza/7241780178

https://www.flickr.com/photos/harinaivoteza/7241780178

Time to dispel some myths about pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum.

1. At the beginning of her evaluation a told me this, “My doctor told me that this pain is normal and you are not going to be able to help me. He said I just need to deal with it because I am pregnant.”

Well, a few minutes later I found her pelvis was out of alignment, and she walked out of my office pain-free. I saw her two more times to help her learn some core stabilization exercises, educate on activities to avoid, and ensure that she remained pain-free. She had no further pain for the remainder of her pregnancy! If this is you, then find a physical therapist trained in treating pregnant women.

2. I hear friends and patients make comments like this all the time:

“Oops, I peed a little bit just now.”

“I cannot jump or run with my kids because I know I will pee in my pants".”

“We all pee a little since having kids. It’s normal.”

“I guess we just have to get used to wearing diapers because we are moms.”

All of the above is false! If peeing, even just a drop or two at a time, in your pants then you have urinary incontinence. You should not have to wear a pad or a pantyliner to catch the pee. You should not have to put in a tampon to play with your kids. You should not have to change your pants because of pee when you get a cold. You should not have to avoid certain activities to avoid wet underpants. You should not have pee in your pants, and you can resolve these symptoms. Raise your expectations for your life, and see a pelvic floor therapist.

3. Me: “what position did you deliver in?”

Patient: “normal”

I get it, in movies and tv women only ever deliver on their backs, and that is the only place most of us have seen a delivery happen before having our own children.

First of all, there is no normal. You can deliver in whatever position where your vagina and perineum are exposed. Sidelying, squatting, and all fours are examples

Second of all, lying on your back makes delivery harder. Gravity is working against you because it is unable to pull your baby down on the cervix and you actually have to push your baby upward to deliver. You are also more likely to have worse pain because gravity pulls the back of your baby’s head toward your sacrum, one common cause of back labor. Finally, you are more likely to end up with worse tearing upon delivery.

What’s the upshot? Normal is the best position for you. I can help you figure out the best position for your body ahead of time by testing your ability to relax your pelvic floor.

4. Said by an obstetrician to a former patient with 9/10 pain when sitting, “just go have sex it will stretch everything out for you.”

No! If sitting is excruciatingly painful then sex is not going to make it better. See a pelvic floor therapist! In this particular case my patient was able complete daily tasks and movements without pain a week later. She was able to have pain-free intercourse 3 weeks later. Do not suffer, get help.

5. “I did not have a vaginal delivery, so I do not have any problems with my pelvic floor.” Your pelvic floor is affected by the 9 months of carrying your child. It is true that without a vaginal delivery you will not have perineal tearing, but the strain to your muscles during pregnancy and the scar tissue from your cesarean can also cause problems with your pelvic floor. Even if you have never had a child, you could benefit from pelvic floor physical therapy. I have treated women with primary complaints of pain with intercourse/tampons and hip pain who have had these symptoms as long as they can remember or caused by another external trauma (examples: a fall, a car accident, or being kicked in the hip by a horse).

If you have recently been pregnant then doing pelvic physical therapy will aide in your recovery, so you can get back to life faster. If you have pain in your hips, back, or pelvis that no one has been able to help you with then check out your pelvic floor.

Stop lowering your expectations for your life. You too can live a full and complete life without limiting yourself!

-Dr. Kate Uttech