• Emily Reul, PT, DPT

National Parent's Day

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

Hi friends, happy National Parent’s Day (a few days early)!

National Parent's Day is this Sunday, July 26th. This holiday was established back in 1994, and serves to recognize the “uplifting and supporting role of parents in the rearing of children.” The reality of parenthood often sets in after delivery of your bundle of joy.

You just spent roughly 40 weeks pregnant and the focus was mainly on you as the “oven.” Now that you’ve delivered, focus often switches from you to your baby. They are no longer protected in the safety of your womb, and they aren’t being directly nourished by your body and your immune system.

Let’s face it, our bodies do amazing things during pregnancy—I mean, you grew an entirely new human being! But along with that, comes several changes to your body. These changes don’t magically return to normal after delivery. That’s why, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has started to recognize the “fourth trimester.” Yay!

The 4th trimester is the time period between giving birth until 12 weeks after delivery. Keep in mind, while the 4th trimester may also end, your body will always be “postpartum.” Some changes may never return to pre-baby ways, but that doesn’t mean your body shouldn’t be functioning properly. Peeing your pants is never normal—even if it’s just a few drops!

Let’s take a minute to look at some common beliefs many have about postpartum care:

  • “A six week check up after delivery is all a new parent needs.”

  • “Urine leakage will stop automatically.”

  • “Prolapse will not affect me until I am older.”

  • “Scar tissue and pain will go away on it’s own.”

  • “If I do a few Kegels, any problems ‘down there’ will go away.”

Are these true?

Unfortunately, these are all myths. But don’t be discouraged, most pelvic floor problems are treatable without surgeries and extensive medications when treated early. These muscles act just like any other muscle in our body and may need some retraining. When you have a knee surgery, often times the muscles don't get stronger and the pain doesn't go away instantly. We spend time caring for and rehabbing our knee to get stronger and to help to pain go away. The pelvic floor muscles are the same way after birth--let's face it, they just suffered the same degree of trauma as having surgery!

Many of these issues aren’t talked about between women and their healthcare providers, and when women talk with other women, they often joke about their problems to cope. Help is out there!

There are so many issues that need to be addressed postpartum. Your healthcare provider should be addressing these issues at postpartum visits:

  • Mood and emotional well-being

  • Infant care and feeding

  • Sexuality, contraception, and birth spacing