What is a pelvic health physical therapist?
After learning you are pregnant, people start talking about your ‘birth team’. That often looks like your midwife and OB, but it can (and maybe should) extend to those who can help serve you emotionally and physically from pregnancy and beyond. Pelvic floor specialists tend to treat pain, weakness and dysfunction in the pelvic floor muscles, however even for folks who “feel fine” we recommend at least one exploratory session with a pelvic health specialist in pregnancy to investigate and optimize your body's function!
So many people learn about pelvic health after delivery and wish they had this information earlier. To bridge the gap, we are excited to partner with Beyond Basics Physical Therapy to share pelvic health tips for each stage of pregnancy.
In the first trimester it's common for pregnant people to experience morning (all day sickness!), constipation, and struggle to stay active.
Exercise in the First Trimester
If you're experiencing morning sickness — You may not feel up to your normal workout program during those early weeks, but going for a brisk walk with a friend and doing short durations can be more possible and incredibly beneficial.
Curious about safe exercises and how hard to push yourself?
The CDC recommends that pregnant people engage in at least 150 mins of moderate intensity physical activity each week. In terms of intensity, two ways to make sure you are falling in line of safe and effective exercise is the rate of perceived excursion scale and the talk test.
- Rate of Perceived Excursion is a scale of 1-10 where 1 being the easiest and 10 being extremally difficult. During your pregnancy it is recommended that you stay around a 5-6 on the scale.
- Talk Test: You should be able to talk while performing whatever form of exercise you are doing.
A pelvic health specialist can create an individualized exercise plan and recommend local or virtual online fitness programs based on your goals and prior level of fitness. They can help teach you what's generally safe during pregnancy, including specific core and pelvic stability work that will support your body as it changes. Depending on your preferences this may include anything from weight training and cardio work, or just walking and gentle body weight exercises.
Constipation While Pregnant
While it may be awkward to talk about - know that constipation during pregnancy is very common and there are ways to support your system and ease your discomfort.
Why the constipation?
As with most aspects of pregnancy, there are hormonal shifts that you experience that slow gastric mobility during the first trimester - which can sometimes continue throughout pregnancy.
How to ease the discomfort?
Drinking water and talking to your OB about possible supplement options to support bowel health and stool quality is one way to help.
Pelvic PT can help teach you toileting posture to help improve ease of pooping (squatty potty -- use code BIRTH15 for 15% off), and breathing coordination and pelvic floor muscle mobility, to reduce straining to reduce pain and hemorrhoid occurrence. This is also helpful to learn this in advance for postpartum poops.
You may also be also starting to experience some pain, urinary/bladder, or pelvic pressure symptoms, and we talk more about those in the second trimester blog.
Are you finding us in the beginning of your pregnancy? Let us help you throughout this journey to support, educate and empower you.
Check out our free Questions to Ask Your Midwife or OB workbook to help find the provider that is most aligned with you and your values.
How do you know you have THE BEST doctor or midwife for you?
RESEARCH & ASK QUESTIONS
But…. Have you ever struggled to ask questions to doctors? That power dynamic and feeling of being rushed can be so intense.
It’s commonly a struggle to find our words (and our power when asking doctors questions) so it’s important to think about how to make the most of your interview / appointments ahead of time!
We created a simple guide on how to interview your doctor with a dozen questions to ask - and an explanation on how to ask better questions.