What Is a Maternal Pelvic Health Specialist?

Last week a patient asked me a very good question...

"Who should I speak with about staying active and exercise during pregnancy...because I don't feel comfortable doing that with my OB?"

I thought this was a very valid question, since she is not pregnant yet and is hoping to conceive in the near future. But then again, I must have failed at my job, for not educating her enough on what physical therapists, i.e. I do.

So here's the answer to her question: a women's health physical therapist.

Why? Physical therapists are specifically trained to:

  • understand the musculoskeletal system and our structure
  • knows the mechanics of the joints
  • how the muscles function together
  • how the nervous system plays a role in our function
  • what our mobility is suppose to look like
  • how to test for imbalances, weakness, dysfunction, tissue tension and much more related to our structure
  • distinguish best practice for diagnoses and problems to reach our patients goals with the most conservative path as possible
  • know what exercises are appropriate for certain diagnoses and problems [and which ones will do harm]
  • apply manual therapy techniques when appropriate to enhance the exercises needed to reach desired goals

Really the list can go on and on!!!

OBs and other medical doctors (not including physiatrists and DO) are not trained as in depth on the musculoskeletal system and certainly not on how to treat structural and mobility issues.  They are highly trained on knowing how to treat ailments related to the reproductive system and maternal care (or whatever the specialty is).

But their profession as a whole is lacking in knowledge about how to stay active, structurally pain free, and what exercises or manual therapy treatments are necessary for certain problems.

That is what physical therapists do!

More specifically when you are experiencing problems during pregnancy like:

  • back or pelvic pain [really any form of pain not related to the baby or reproductive organs]
    • Because really most aches and pains during pregnancy are related to our changing posture and joint instability causing tight and imbalanced muscles
  • want to stay active, but don't know how
  • pelvic floor dysfunction...incontinence, constipation, etc
    • Which may only get worse after birth
  • want more information about preparing your body for labor and delivery
  • nausea, swelling, headaches

...and want to do everything possible after birth to support your body in recovery

Then a women's health physical therapist, especially one who has been trained in maternal care and even better one who also has a deeper understanding of the fascial system and core cylinder is the BEST provider to go to of all your concerns about your body during pregnancy.

I've said it before, this country is well behind others in supporting expecting and new moms with the structural changes that occur in our bodies.  It's time to change that and offer moms the choice to see a physical therapist during all stages of pregnancy, regardless of specific diagnoses.  Because let's face it, even if we feel great, there is always something we can learn about our body that will benefit us in the long run (me included!)

a women's health physical therapist, especially one who has been trained in maternal care and even better one who also has a deeper understanding of the fascial system and core cylinder is the BEST provider to go to of all your concerns about your body during pregnancy.

To be clear my job is really to help all moms reach her greatest physical potential, it's not just to be a physical therapist.  So pass the word on to all moms [in all stages] you know, that I can bring the best out of their body!!