We often get asked how long you should wait after delivery (either vaginal or C-section) before getting started with post-natal recovery with a PT.
Old-school thinking used to hold that we should wait until you've had that arbitrary 6-8 week check-in with your OB-GYN after delivery, but the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) has recently changed their guidelines to acknowledge that every woman needs individualized support. As the new guidelines state:
"Postpartum care should become an ongoing process, rather than a single encounter, with services and support tailored to each woman’s individual needs. It is recommended that all women have contact with their obstetrician–gynecologists or other obstetric care providers within the first 3 weeks postpartum."
As physical therapists, we can see patients as early as 2-3 weeks after delivery. If you're dealing with specific post-natal symptoms (urinary incontinence, significant diastasis recti, or pelvic pain) you may want to come in closer to that 2-3 week mark, otherwise you can delay a few more weeks.
In some cases we won't do an internal exam that soon after delivery, but there's so much we can do externally, as well as educating you about important aspects of recovery. We'll discuss the body mechanics of lifting your body, reducing intrabdominal pressure on the pelvic floor, positions for breast feeding, and more!
You're also welcome to bring in the little one to your appointment (at least at PelvicSanity!), as long as you're comfortable.
So if you've given birth - either vaginally or via C-section - feel free to contact your pelvic physical therapists in the first 2-3 weeks after delivery. We can work to resolve any post-natal symptoms while your body is primed to recover after delivery and get you back to safely resuming your normal activities and exercise.
At PelvicSanity, we support patients beyond the walls of our own clinic in Southern California. We offer an Out-of-Town program, remote consultations, and a Facebook support group for patients called Finding Pelvic Sanity.
Dr. Nicole Cozean is the founder of PelvicSanity Physical Therapy in Orange County, CA. PelvicSanity treats patients from all over the world with remote consultations and the Immersive Out of Town Program. She also runs Pelvic PT Rising, training other pelvic PTs to better serve patients.
Named Physical Therapist of the Year, Dr. Nicole is author of the award-winning book The Interstitial Cystitis Solution and the first PT to serve on the ICA Board of Directors, Her passion is helping those with pelvic health issues - regardless of where they live - find lasting relief.