Every woman at some point in her pregnancy has the thought “Uh oh, this thing has to come out!”

…or some version of this sentiment.  Are you ready?  Were you ready last time?   Will you be ready next time?  Why do it the hard way, struggling through on your own?

Whether this is your first or 10th pregnancy, you probably have questions.  

Of course listen to the guidance from your OBGYn and/or Midwife at your appointments, but who is available with accurate information for your day-to-day questions, or to help you actually do the suggestions you’ve been given?

One of my favorite ways to guide a woman and her family through a pregnancy is through the use of a Physical Therapist/Doula combo. I don’t choose favorites, but if I did, here’s one:

Megan Heaton – Tiny Blessings Doula Services

(http://tinyblessingsdoulaservices.com)

Why Both?

To keep you healthy, active, comfortable, and confident

Doulas act as birth coaches during delivery, and in addition, they can guide before and after as well.  So do Physical Therapists.  There are many things that overlap between the professions, because both are here to help.  Physical Therapist help with all listed below and more, so please call if you have any of these conditions, or any questions.

  • Pain 
    • Pubic symphysis
    • Low back
    • Hips
    • SI joints
    • Sciatica (not ok to accept that the “baby is sitting on a nerve”)
    • Upper extremity (swelling, pain, numbness)
    • Pain with intercourse
    • Brace wear, fitting, and education
    • Scar pain and mobility
    • Breast and nursing pain 
  • Posture
    • Finding comfortable positions
    • Preventing pain
    • Nursing positions
    • Standing, sitting, driving, work
    • Lifting (other children, baby carrier)
  • Labor and delivery
    • Relaxation  and meditation techniques
    • Pelvic floor and abdominal wall control
    • Labor positioning
    • Delivery positioning
    • Perineal care
  • Exercise
    • What is safe?
    • What can I continue or should I modify?
    • Individualized program to continue to build strength to help through pregnancy and delivery preparation
  • DRA
    • Diastasis recti – prevention and treatment
  • Incontinence
    • “Did my water break or did I pee myself?” NOT ok, ever  
    • No amount of leakage is normal.  Ever.  “Common” and “normal” are not the same
  • Education
    • What to expect 
    • Where to deliver
    • Sedation and pain management education
    • Natural delivery guidance, education and practice
    • Delivery preparation
    • Breastfeeding education
    • Resources and referrals
    • Individual pregnancy and birth plan preparation

Your delivery experience

Because Physical Therapists are generally not available to be there with you in the delivery room, your Doula can continue what you have been practicing.   You can feel great about everything you have learned from your PT sessions, but why be left alone during the actual delivery?  Your Doula can continue everything we work on and apply it when you need it most.  

Your Doula is there for YOU!  They can easily implement what is important to you, making it possible for you and your family to focus on your baby and your birth experience.  

Postpartum, your Doula communicates to you and your Physical Therapist what may have occurred during delivery, and what (if any) treatments you may need to fully recover.  For example,  she can tell you before you leave the hospital what to expect for recovery and when you need to make a Physical Therapy appointment (hint: it’s 6 weeks postpartum, after your appointment with your provider).  The result is YOU not getting left behind in the experience of the new baby.

After all of this, you should never be left wondering if you are going through is normal! We are happy to answer those questions, treat what isn’t normal, and provide assurance and for what is.

Fun Doula facts:

  • 25% decrease in the risk of Cesarean; the largest effect was seen with a doula (39% decrease)*
  • 8% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth; the largest effect was seen with a doula (15% increase)*
  • 10% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief; the type of person providing continuous support did not make a difference
  • Shorter labors by 41 minutes on average; there is no data on if the type of person providing continuous support makes a difference
  • 38% decrease in the baby’s risk of a low five minute Apgar score; there is no data on if the type of person providing continuous support makes a difference
  • 31% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience; mothers’ risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience was reduced with continuous support provided by a doula or someone in their social network (family or friend), but not hospital staff
    • https://evidencebasedbirth.com/the-evidence-for-doulas

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