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Postpartum Physical Therapy: What New Moms Need to Know

(Source: Lisa Farley,, July 17
Published on 18 Jul. 2011 2:48 AM IST
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It’s definitely taboo to talk to women who are pregnant for the first time about the details of what their bodies will go through during labor and birth. I suppose this makes sense. You don’t want to scare the mother-to-be, and there’s always the hope that she’ll have a really easy delivery. That said, if it’s not a seamless process there are things that can be done to help her recover.
Two of the most basic things a new mom can do to aid in physical recovery are take it easy and nap. The easier you take it the first six weeks, the better your recovery will be across the next six months. You should try to nap when the baby naps or have someone take the baby for a walk and catch a cat nap. This will give you stamina for the long nights ahead.
Emotionally,new moms should keep in mind it took about ten months for their body to get to the point they are at, so try to be kind to yourself (e.g. not compare your body to your pre-pregnancy state or obsess over looking at other women’s abs).
It’s often a surprise that leaving the hospital you may still appear five months pregnant. The worst may be if someone mistakenly asks you when you are due, if you’re not with your baby. (Since we’re being honest, I’ll fess up that this seems to only get more challenging with each additional child).
While you can’t expect washboard abs immediately, or more personal things like comfortable intimacy or ease of going to the bathroom, help is available. There are physical therapists that focus on things like pelvic floor dysfunction, women’s health, incontinence, and core strengthening.
One such place is Beyond Basics Physical Therapy in New York City. You can Google postpartum physical therapy to find similar practitioners in your area. If you, or a woman you know, is experiencing any challenges postpartum, it may be worth a consultation. Your OB/GYN can also be a good source of information—although the doctor may not volunteer information, you may need to ask.
Giving birth has been likened to a secret society. As soon as a woman has had her baby, and experienced her own “uniquely universal” event, she’ll be sharing details with other mom’s that she never thought she would. And they’ll be more than willing to reply with their own gory details. Including perhaps, what aided them in recovery.

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