Mother and Baby

Postpartum Physiotherapy

Your body changes in incredible ways during pregnancy and birth to accommodate for your growing uterus and baby and to allow for the birth of your baby. Although some of these changes will return to their pre-pregnancy states on their own, others don't and can lead to injury and other common postpartum conditions now or in the future. Postpartum physiotherapy will help you address these changes and improve your body and health for the short and long term.

Postpartum physiotherapy, regardless of how many months or years it has been since you gave birth, can help you:

  • Reconnect to your core and pelvic floor

  • Restore more optimal posture and breathing patterns

  • Regain mobility in your abdomen, upper back, hips and pelvis

  • Strengthen your body and improve your movement patterns to better handle the physical demands of parenthood

  • Safely and progressively return to higher level activities such as running, jumping, crossfit, etc.

  • Prevent, manage and treat common postpartum conditions such as incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse (POP), diastasis rectus abdominis (DRA), pelvic and back pain

  • Address scar tissue restrictions from cesarian & perineal scars

Postpartum Physio faqs

When should I make my first postpartum appointment?

Your first postpartum appointment can be made anytime between 4-8 weeks postpartum. Internal pelvic assessments will not be completed until around the 6 week mark, but you can certainly come in earlier to work on other things if you want to get a head start on your rehabillitation. Please note that my schedule can fill up 6+ weeks in advance so you may want to consider scheduling your first postpartum appointment towards the end of your pregnancy or immediately after you have given birth. If you do not feel mentally, emotionally or physically ready to be assessed around the 6 week mark, that is okay! Listen to your body and book an appointment when you are ready.

What can I do before my first postpartum physiotherapy appointment to help with my recovery?

There are several things you can do to help your recovery during your early postpartum days and weeks. Please see my Tips for Early Postpartum Recovery under Resources.

How many follow-up appointments should I book in advance?

My schedule can fill up 6+ weeks in advance. When you book your initial appointment, I recommend you also book 2-3 follow up appointments at 2-4 week intervals to ensure you receive the treatement you need in a timely manner. Appointments can always be cancelled and it is much easier to cancel an appointment than to book one on short notice.

I had a c-section. Do I still need to see a pelvic floor physiotherapist?

Yes. A postpartum assessemnt is important for the following reasons:

  1. A physiotherapist can help address pain, sensitivity, and mobility limitations associated with your cesearian scar. This is important for comfort, function, and to prevent pelvic health conditions such as urinary frequency and painful sex that are associated with ceseariar scar tissue (because of their connection to the bladder and pelvis).
  2. A physiotherapist can assess you for abdominal separation (DRA) and help you rehabilitate your abdominal muscles.
  3. Your pelvic floor may still be affected from the stresses placed on it during pregnancy and labour (if you laboured prior to having a cesearian).
  4. Your body underwent other changes during pregnancy and delivery that may need to be addressed in order to ensure long term health.

I am many months or many years postpartum. Can postpartum physiotherapy still help me?

Absolutely! Anyone who has given birth, regardless of how long it has been, can benefit from postpartum physiotherapy. It is never too late to start.

I'm too exhausted or don't have time to do physio exercises. Can I still benefit from physiotherapy?

Absolutely! In addition to the treatment you receive during your treatment session, you will also be given tools and strategies to use during the activities you are already doing as a parent to help manage or prevent pain and symptoms. This can include tips for picking up or carrying your baby and/or car seat, baby wearing, stroller pushing, and breastfeeding. You will also be given tips on how to incorporate what you learn during your physio treatment sessions into your daily activities. For some people, setting aside time to do specific rehab exercises will be necessary for a full recovery. If you are not able to dedicate the time and energy to your rehab now, don't worry. You can always come in later once life settles down a bit. It is never too late to start or complete your postpartum rehab journey.

What can I expect during a postpartum physiotherapy assessment?

Postpartum physiotherapy is about a lot more than the pelvic floor. A postpartum physiotherapy assessment will involve a head to toe assessment to identify and treat pregnancy and birth related body changes that exist and are contributing to your current symptoms. Depending on your rehab goals, these changes can also be addressed to help prevent future injury and to reduce your chances of experiencing common postpartum conditions later in your postpartum journey, months or years down the road. Pregnancy and birth-related body changes that can contribute to common postpartum conditions include changes in your:

  • Posture and alignment
  • Breathing mechanics
  • Mobility of the ribcage, back and pelvis
  • Core and pelvic floor function
  • Abdomen, including abdominal separation (DRA)
  • Movement patterns
  • Scar tissue from cesearian and perineal scars
Addressing these changes before they cause injury or pelvic health conditions is much easier than treating them once they arise. This is particualrly important for people wanting to return to exercise and high impact activities.