The 4th trimester? I thought there were only three trimesters in pregnancy? It wasn't until only recently that the United States started recognizing the 4th trimester and the need for proper postpartum care for all mothers. The 4th trimester refers to months 0-3 of your adorable little baby's new life, or your first 12 weeks postpartum.
In April 2018, the ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) released information on the need for postpartum care for moms to be redesigned. According to ACOG, "currently, as many as 40 percent of women who have given birth do not attend a postpartum visit." It was recommended by ACOG that in order to maximize health in women and infants, the care during this period should entail further contact than simply a single visit. At postpartum follow up visits, there is a need for increased attention on checking in on physical recovery from birth, emotional well-being, and gradual return to sexual intercourse.
It is imperative that the care for postpartum recovery is individualized for each mother. While there is the greatest focus on baby's health during this time, it is important that mom’s body properly recovers to prevent pain and future issues that can develop from poor healing.
Physical therapy can play a vital role in postpartum recovery. Some common issues women experience postpartum include:
- pelvic pain
- incontinence (even if you have “just a little” leakage with sneezing or laughing)
- pain with intercourse
- abdominal separation
- weakness in the core
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms lasting longer than 6-10 weeks post-delivery, physical therapy can help you improve these issues. In fact, it’s better to address any of these areas sooner rather than later for proper healing and recovery. Many times these issues are not fixed by simply doing more kegels. Even if you had a cesarean delivery, physical therapy can also help with recovery and help to prevent complications that can occur with scar tissue surrounding the incision. Pain and incontinence are NOT “a normal part of becoming a mom.” Moms, don’t forget to take care of your body so you can be healthy and able to take care of your new little bundle of joy!
If you have any of the above issues or would like to learn more about how you can prevent lifelong issues during this vital 4th trimester, contact us at Revitalize Physical Therapy for a FREE consult with one of our therapists!
(Information from: www.acog.com)