Physical therapists (PTs) can play a key role in postpartum health for mothers for a range of issues beyond weight loss, according to a recently published article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The article quoted APTA members in its examination of the musculoskeletal changes that can occur in women after birth, particularly among women who have more closely spaced babies later in life.
In the article, APTA members Jessica McKinney, PT, MS, Debra Goodman, PT, and Marianne Ryan, PT, OCS, explained the changes that can take place in a woman's abdominal and pelvic muscles, as well as in the general shape of the spine, and described how scarring or the wrong exercise intensity levels can create problems for women who have not established stable core strength. Secili Destefano, PT, DPT, OCS, director of research for APTA's Section on Women's Health, described how age and hormonal changes can impact recovery.
While women face many postpartum challenges, physical therapy can strengthen the key muscles that help to counter incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and other issues. The problem, according to WSJ reporter Sarah Nassauer, is that women are exposed to a huge amount of health information both prenatal and postpartum, and unless obstetricians take particular care, important elements—such as clear instruction on the proper way to do Kegel exercises—can be missed along the way.
APTA's consumer website, www.MoveForwardPT.com, offers extensive women's health resources for patients, some of which are directly related to the musculoskeletal issues associated with postpartum recovery.
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