#1 Address Injuries & Postpartum Complications
Approximately ⅓ of vaginal births result in some form of injury to the levator ani muscle and having a cesarean birth does not prevent urinary incontinence or prolapse. (Reference 1)
#2 Reduce Postpartum Risks
Properly performing Kegels during pregnancy reduces the risk of developing postpartum urinary. incontinence. (Reference 2)
#3 Help Prevent Depression
A person with back pain during pregnancy is 3 times more likely to have postpartum depression than a person without back pain. (Reference 3)
#4 Correct Form with Supervision
The way that pelvic floor/diaphragm contractions are performed matters. There is evidence showing a patient that is pregnant does better when pelvic diaphragm exercises are supervised by pelvic health specialists than in unsupervised or leaflet assisted care. (Reference 4)
#5 Provide Early Training and Prevent Complications
A pregnant client can perform pelvic and abdominal muscle contractions to tolerance immediately after delivery. Physical therapists can help train pregnant clients how to perform the exercises correctly when they are pregnant so that they can confidently begin exercises after birth and help prevent postpartum complications. (Reference 5)
Find a Trained Physical Therapist
Pelvic health physical therapists are located all over the country. Find a physical therapist near you using our PT Locator at www.aptapelvichealth.org/ptlocator.
- Shek, Ka Lai, Dietz, H. The Effect of Childbirth on Hiatal Dimensions. Obstetrics & Gynecology: 2009; 6: 1272- 278.
- Östgaard HC, Zetherström G, Roos- Hansson E. The posterior pelvic pain provocation test in pregnant women. Eur Spine J 1994;19:894–900 16.
- Gutke, A Josefsson, A and Oberg,B. Pelvic Girdle Pain and Lumbar Pain in Relation to Postpartum Depressive Symptoms. Spine 2007;32:1430–1436.
- Woodley SJ, Boyle R , Cody JD, Mørkved S, Hay-Smith EJC.Pelvic floor muscle training for prevention and treatment of urinary and faecal incontinence in antenatal and postnatal women.Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2017, Issue 12.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Committee opinion no. 736: optimizing postpartum care. Obstet Gynecol 2018; 13:1140-150.
This information is designed to be used by therapists trained in providing physical therapy in pregnancy and are not intended to be generic medical advice.