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Postpartum Health
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The Femina Physical Therapy Blog

Featuring original articles by our staff about current events and trends

With emphasis on vaginismus, pregnancy and postpartum best practices, treatments for incontinence, and other topics related to the health of your pelvic floor.


Blog Posts by Topic

Featured From the Blog:

Babywearing 101 | Image Courtesy of Derek Owens via Unsplash

What is babywearing? 

Babywearing is the practice of transporting a baby or child in a sling or carrier that is worn on the body - a practice that has existed for generations, and has been observed across many different cultures.

What are the benefits of babywearing?

In the first few months of an infant's life, it is required of caregivers to perform many hours of carrying, a task that may be daunting if there are other children in their household that need caring for, or other responsibilities within the home that need tending to. Of course babywearing allows caregivers to be physically close to the baby while remaining hands free, but not only this, babywearing has also been shown to have emotional, physical and psychological benefits for both infant and mother. For the infant, maternal carrying of the offspring has been shown to trigger a calming response demonstrated by central, motor and cardiac signals in distressed infants.1 There is also research to support that can improve length and success of breastfeeding, improve infant temperature regulation, and sleep apnea.

Read more: Babywearing 101: Benefits,...

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urinary incontinence and postpartum depression

What's the Link Between Urinary Incontinence and Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum Depression is a medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act.

It typically arises due to a combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood, and fatigue. Postpartum depression is said to affect between 5-20% of mothers depending on variable socioeconomic factors. Many people associate urinary incontinence as a common postpartum symptom. Prevalence of postpartum urinary incontinence figures vary due to diverse study formats, however it is predicted that bladder leakage is experienced in a quarter to half of all postpartum women.

In recent years, studies have concluded there is a strong link between both postpartum depression and urinary incontinence postpartum.

Read more: Commonly Linked: Urinary...

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effects of pelvic floor muscle strength on orgasm

Let's Look at the Effects of Pelvic Floor Muscle Strength on Orgasm

Hint: strong pelvic floor muscles = strong orgasm 

The world is learning more and more about the pelvic floor and the many ways that it can be treated. At Femina Physical Therapy, we have spoken about pelvic rehab for urinary, bowel, birth, pregnancy, bladder, erectile issues, and many more. But we all know the question that everyone wants answered: Does pelvic floor strength affect orgasm?

Well reader, you came to the right place.  

Read more: The Effects of Pelvic Floor...

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Steps to return to running in postpartum | image courtesy of sam chaffin via unsplash

During pregnancy, the body goes through tremendous changes that can significantly impact strength, endurance, and ability to absorb ground reaction forces that are required to safely return to running. Your growing belly changes your posture, your hormones are making your joints more flexible, and some amount of deconditioning is expected and normal as pregnancy progresses. 

For most postpartum runners, their return to running following birth can be intimidating and overwhelming. 

Read more: Blog: A Safe Return to...

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Coping with Restless Leg Syndrome | Image Courtesy of Yuris Alhumaydy via Unsplash

Restless Legs Syndrome (or RLS)

Restless legs syndrome (or RLS) is a condition where there are uncontrollable urges to move limbs (mostly in the legs, but sometimes in the arms) that follows a circadian pattern, namely evenings/overnight when resting.

The urges usually come with unpleasant sensations such as tingling, burning, itching, or otherwise pain. Usually, it can be alleviated by movement, but as you can imagine, it can be debilitating and impair sleep, and thus the quality of life. It is common to experience mood swings, anxiety, and depression.

It is estimated that about 3.9-14.3% of the general population suffers from RLS. It is the most common movement disorder in pregnant women. There is either primary (idiopathic) RLS, or secondary (acquired) RLS due to pregnancy, renal pathologies, diabetes, hypertension, and other metabolic conditions. The two most common risk factors for RLS are iron deficiency and kidney disease. 

Read more: Restless Legs Syndrome &...

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Therapeutic Breast Massage in Lactation | Image Courtesy of Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz via Unsplash

Therapeutic Breast Massage in Lactation Can Help Make Breastfeeding Less Painful

Breastfeeding is widely accepted as the normal standard for providing nutrition to newborns, however, many women who do not reach their breastfeeding goals. US national data stated that breast pain was a commonly reported reason for women weaning less than 1 month postpartum. Within that segment, 29% of women who participated in the study stated that “breastfeeding was too painful” to continue.

In the same study, 24% of women reported “breasts feel(ing) too full or engorged” as another reason to discontinue breastfeeding prior to 1 month postpartum.1 Currently, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding of infants for the first six months of life. As physical therapists who treat patients with postpartum conditions, we are well positioned to make a big impact on patients with breastfeeding related pain and reduce barriers to continued breastfeeding!

Read more: Therapeutic Breast Massage...

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Postpartum Recovery pt. 2 Diastasis Rectus Abdominis | Image Courtesy of Katherine Hood via Unsplash

What is DRA?

Diastasis rectus abdominis (DRA, sometimes referred to as Diastasis Recti) is a distortion or thinning of the linea alba which is the midline of the abdomen that connects left and right rectus abdominis muscles together.

Although DRA can be found in both genders, it is more commonly found in females, and more common during pregnancy (66-100% of women have DRA during their third trimester) and can persist through their postpartum periods. About 33% of women continue to have a DRA a year postpartum. It can look like a gap in the midline, “doming” in the midline, or it can even appear as a “pooch,” in the lower abdomen. 

Why Do We Care?

The abdominal muscles and linea alba assist in trunk movement, posture, lumbopelvic stability, breathing, and abdominal organ support. As you can imagine, it can affect those functions when a DRA is present. As movement specialists, we want to make sure you are engaging the muscles and tensing up the fascia of the linea alba appropriately to help prevent low back pain, pelvic girdle pain, and activity-related injuries. 

Read more: Diastasis Rectus Abdominis:...

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** This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. **

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