Postpartum Rehab at Healthlink

Having a baby is a special, life-changing event. In the middle of all of the excitement of caring for a newborn, many mothers need care, too. Why? You may experience a variety of muscle and joint symptoms and a need for postpartum healing.

Healthlink offers a comprehensive treatment plan for women after childbirth. This treatment plan includes assessing and treating bowel and bladder difficulties, pelvic pain, back pain and changes in posture that could have long-term effects on the mother.

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Benefits of Healthlink’s Postpartum Rehab

  • Decrease or eliminate pain with intercourse
  • Decrease urinary leaking
  • Promote safe return to postpartum workouts
  • Increase pelvic floor and abdominal strength after birth
  • Develop deeper understanding of postpartum care

What Is Postpartum Care?

The first six weeks after childbirth is called the postpartum period. This is a time to bond and have your post-delivery checkups with your doctor. During this time, the mother is still recovering from childbirth, adjusting with changing hormones and starting to learn to feed and care for her newborn. Postpartum care is ideally an ongoing process and not an isolated visit to the obstetrician. It may consist of physical, social and psychological assessments, including mood and emotional tests. Infant care and feeding, contraception and birth planning, sleep and fatigue, physical recovery from birth, chronic disease management and health maintenance should also be included in postpartum care.

Care for You After Baby Is Born

Adjusting to motherhood can be challenging, but Healthlink is here to ease you to a routine. While there is no established routine yet, here is what you can do:

  1. Rest. The baby may wake up every 2-3 hours for feeding, and it can cause fatigue. It is important to get as much sleep as possible so try to sleep while your baby sleeps.
  2. Seek help. You and your baby are still adapting, and while you may want to do all the work yourself, it’s okay to ask for help. You can ask your friends or family to run errands for you or to watch the baby or your other children at home.
  3. Eat healthy meals. Promote healing by having a healthy diet. Increase fluid intake especially when breastfeeding.
  4. Exercise. “When can I start working out after giving birth?” Your doctor will tell you when it’s okay to exercise as well as what exercises would be best for you.

    Once you can start exercising, one or a combination of these postpartum workouts may be recommended by your doctor:

    1. Pelvic floor exercises (Kegel exercises)
    2. Diaphragmatic breathing
    3. Walking
    4. Swiss ball bird dog holds
    5. Cat-cow tabletop
    6. Swiss ball glute bridge
    7. Postpartum planks
    8. Side plank leg lifts

The Healthlink Approach

We invite new mothers to participate in a physical therapy evaluation with one of our pelvic health specialists at approximately 6-8 weeks postpartum, based on your doctor’s recommendation.

During this physical therapy evaluation, our pelvic health specialists will discuss and assess symptoms associated with muscle and joint changes that may have occurred during pregnancy, labor and delivery or while caring for a newborn.

Conditions treated at Healthlink Postpartum Rehab:

  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Bowel Incontinence
  • Constipation
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Separation of abdominal muscles (diastasis recti)
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Incisional pain
  • Neck, thoracic and lower back pain
  • Difficulties with bed mobility/transfers
  • Pain with prolonged standing/walking
  • Pain carrying child for extended periods

What to expect with postpartum rehab

  • Learn how to return to exercise safely
  • Reduce urinary leaking
  • Ease pain in your neck, back and hips
  • Decrease or eliminate pain with intercourse
  • Discover ways to lift and carry your newborn

Postpartum Rehab for Postpartum Body Changes

  1. Weight gain. Your postpartum body is different than what you had before pregnancy. Remember that you did not gain weight overnight, so be patient with yourself. You may not be advised to exercise right away, but your doctor will tell you when you can. He or she will also tell you what exercises are good for you. It will begin moderately then gradually increase over time.
  2. Breast engorgement. It is normal for breasts to be filled with milk after birth, but it can be quite uncomfortable. To ease the pain, apply hot or cold compress to the nipples or apply nipple cream to avoid cracking.
  3. Constipation. Consult our doctors in San Antonio for medications on constipation. These medications can also help with hemorrhoids.
  4. Pelvic floor changes. The perineum, area between the rectum and vagina, often tears during birth and sometimes, it is cut to help for a better labor. Pelvic floor changes are treated with postpartum workouts, cold compress and sitting on a pillow.
  5. Sweating. This is caused by hormonal changes and can be relieved by removing extra blankets or pillows on the bed before or while sleeping.
  6. Uterine pain. When the baby comes out, the uterus shrinks and may cause some discomfort. Consult your doctor for safe pain medications for uterine pain discomfort.
  7. Vaginal discharge. Postpartum period is normal and is a way for the body to eliminate the blood and tissues from the uterus. You may have spotting for the first week, but heavy bleeding is not expected. If you experience foul-smelling and heavy period, please consult your doctor.

Healthlink’s Mission

Educate women after childbirth early in their recovery, so they do not experience chronic weakness and pain following childbirth.

Schedule an Appointment

You don’t have to be a Baptist Health System patient to receive therapy. You may be evaluated and treated by our doctors in San Antonio even without a physician referral. To schedule an initial evaluation, please call 210-297-9907 or email [email protected]. Virtual visits may also be available upon request.