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Pelvic Physical Therapy Poised to Be New Normal for Postpartum Patients

Katie Baird, PT, DPT

According to the Women’s Health Foundation, pelvic floor dysfunction affects almost 50% of women following childbirth, with approximately 135,000 surgeries per year for urinary incontinence and 225,000 surgeries per year for pelvic organ prolapse. While statistics show that pelvic floor dysfunction is a possibility, Lakeview Regional Medical Center Women’s Health Physical Therapist Katie Baird, PT, DPT states much of the pain and dysfunction can be alleviated by pelvic floor physical therapy simply by strengthening or relaxing the pelvic floor muscles.

“In America, pelvic PT is relatively new, but the benefits are so significant that every woman should explore her options—this should become the ‘new normal’ for all post partum women,” states Baird, who possesses specialized, advanced training in pelvic floor rehabilitation through the American Physical Therapy Association.

"In America, pelvic PT is relatively new, but the benefits are so significant that every woman should explore her options."
Katie Baird, PT, DPT

Lakeview Regional Medical Center offers an integrated program of postpartum treatments performed by licensed, board certified physical therapists with specialized training in pelvic rehabilitation. The therapist evaluates symptoms and develops a treatment plan tailored to the patient’s individual needs. The Rehabilitation Department now offers specific biofeedback retraining in which patients are able to visualize with the use of electrodes and a computer what the pelvic floor muscles are doing. Research has shown that biofeedback can improve the efficacy of pelvic floor muscle exercises and help restore the patient to full function. In addition to biofeedback, traditional physical therapy techniques are used to stretch, strengthen and relax muscles in the lower pelvis.

“Patients have been very pleased with their results from biofeedback retraining, as it allows them a tangible way to track improvements,” states Baird. “They are able to actually see on the computer screen how the muscles work, which leads to faster recovery time.”

Common pelvic floor dysfunction diagnoses include: urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic pain, prenatal and post partum rehabilitation, pre and post bladder suspensions and pre and post pelvic surgeries. In many cases, rehabilitation is an excellent option for patients who wish to avoid surgery or medication.

Additional treatment techniques for pelvic floor dysfunction include pelvic floor strengthening, manual therapy, electrical stimulation, bladder retraining, therapeutic exercise and postural re-education. Pelvic rehabilitation is covered by the majority of insurance plans, making it accessible to nearly all patients. To contact the physical therapy department for an evaluation, please call (985) 867-4054.

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