During pregnancy, there are number of medical appointments. From your regular prenatal check ups to blood work and glucose testing; there’s a lot of people asking questions, putting cold gel on your belly, sticking you with needles, etc. After a while, it gets overwhelming, especially towards the end of the pregnancy when prenatal visits increase from monthly to weekly. All of this must be done between work, home, and social life. You’re busy, we get it, but there’s one doctor you will want to add to your list of doctors to frequent for both your pregnancy and postpartum care, that’s a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT).
A Doctor of Physical Therapy, specifically one who specializes in the treatment of women’s health issues, will be one of your new favorite doctors for several reasons. A DPT specializing in women’s health issues is also known as a pelvic floor or pelvic health PT. These special PT’s, assist mamas and mamas to be with any physical discomfort resulting from pregnancy or the trauma of childbirth. Whether it’s clogged breast ducts, back or pelvic pain, urine or fecal leakage, constipation, painful scar tissue, muscle weakness or spasm, a women’s health PT can help. It’s great that there’s someone out there to help with your most embarrassing issues, but there are so many other reasons why you should see a women’s health PT. Here are just a few:
1. She listens because there’s time to listen
Unlike other doctor appointments where you spend most of your time waiting or speaking with the nurse, physician’s assistant or medical assistant, your DPT will spend a good amount of time with you. There are questions, but there’s active listening so she can determine what is the cause of your discomfort or condition. During each visit, you will meet with only your DPT who has ample time to chat with you, getting even more background story on you and your needs as well as your symptoms.
2. She asks the questions no one else will ask
Even while some medical professionals shy away from asking intimate questions, your DPT certainly will not. Is sex painful at initial penetration or after orgasm? How many times do you urinate during the day? How often do you have a bowel movement and what does it look like? These are just some of the questions asked by your DPT. The response to these questions will give her insight into what’s driving your symptoms and, ultimately, help to determine the best course of action to provide relief.
3. She understands
In order to become a women’s health or pelvic floor PT, there are additional courses that must be taken after acquiring a DPT degree and license. During these courses, every participant must play the role of patient and provider. That means whatever your therapist does during a visit has been experienced first hand by your therapist. Also, it’s very likely your therapist has also experienced her own pregnancy and postpartum discomfort. In fact, this is what drives many women to treat this special population.
4. She will teach you things that blow your mind
There’s so much to learn from your DPT that even your medical doctor or personal trainer won’t share with you. You will leave an episode of care knowing more about your body than you ever knew. You will learn simple things like how to breathe, pooping posture (yes, it’s a thing), how much water to drink, what’s common but not normal and how and when to do a Kegel. But most importantly, you will learn how to self manage your symptoms so you have more control over your health.
5. She will provide whole body, holistic care
Although your DPT will specialize in treating pelvic and abdominal issues, she’s still a PT who can treat the entire body. And you better believe she will take into account what the rest of your body is doing, from nearby and far away joints, to the organ and central nervous system. Your DPT will also incorporate other methods of treatment including relaxation and meditation for stress reduction, nutritional and supplemental recommendations to facilitate healing, and promote emotional and physical wellness.
Obviously, there are more reasons you’ll find comfort in your women’s health PT but you’ll just have to visit one for yourself to learn first hand. Keep in mind that your medical provider may not even know what a women’s health PT is or does, so it’s up to you to educate yourself. Add a women’s health PT to your list of doctors to visit during your prenatal and postpartum care and your body will thank you later. Even if you’ve had your babies several years ago, it’s not too late. Once postpartum, always postpartum.