A mom of three young children, she specializes in pelvic floor health and is trained in BirthFit. Her goal is to help bring awareness that while some symptoms many prenatal and postpartum women experience can be common, those symptoms are not always normal, and thus can be corrected with finding the right provider.
What is a pelvic floor physical therapist, and why would someone come see you?
A pelvic floor therapist is a physical therapist who specializes in women’s and men’s health. These specialized treatments tend to focus on the pelvic floor muscles and any issues that arise from this region. Most common problems seen are bowel and bladder dysfunction and pelvic pain.
What does a typical exam look like?
An examination begins with the initial evaluation. An evaluation is 45 minutes to an hour long and consist of a thorough examination, assessment and treatment methods. Follow up exams after the evaluation are 45 minutes and allow for more time on treatment and progression. Examination of the pelvic floor muscles can consist of both an internal and external evaluation. An internal examination is only done with the consent of the patient and only when the patient is comfortable having this performed. Internal examinations allow us to directly assess the muscle and determine how it is functioning such as endurance, strength, flexibility, pain and sensation. This is important information especially when the pelvic floor muscles have gone through large and traumatic changes with pregnancy, labor and delivery (both vaginally and via c-section).
When should patients make their first appointment with you? And how long should they plan to stay a patient?
Pre partum patients should make an appointment when they begin having symptoms that are not within normal pregnancy growth and changes. This includes but not limited to: low back pain, radiating pain down the leg from the pelvis or back, internal pain along the pelvic floor such as the vagina, urethra, or rectum, abdominal separation, and feeling of falling out, urinary leaking, urinary retention, and hemorrhoids. I also encourage pre partum patients to see me at 36 to 37 weeks to begin gentle superficial perineal stretching. This can assist and guide the pelvic floor muscles to fully release and relax during labory and delivery and may assist in reduction of possible tearing during delivery. Once they have had the baby a follow up at 6 weeks is recommended to re-evaluate the pelvic floor muscles and their current function. This will guide the new mother on how to rehabilitate herself safely during this post-partum phase. Patients after the 6 week checkup will follow up with the therapist as needed per symptoms and severity.
When I was pregnant, my sister in law told me I would never be able to laugh without peeing a little. What are you thoughts on what is considered the new normal after you have a baby?
This is quite common and while all too often is meant to be a joke it is not normal. When someone has the loss of urine with no control that is a muscle that is not functioning how it is supposed to. Many things happen during the pre-partum and delivery stages that change the pelvic floor muscles and how they function properly. I want women to treat this like any other symptom they experience that is stopping them from doing an activity they enjoy or just daily function. It needs to be addressed and known that this is not normal and can be treated.
When you aren't working with clients, where would we find you?
Usually outside doing any activity with my three kids. We love exploring Durham with our friends. There are so many playgrounds, trails and of course we love the Museum of Life and Science.
And for the most important questions, between having three kids and busy job, what TV show are you currently binge watching?
Oh, I just started the Crown and am loving it!