As a physical therapist (PT) who specializes in pelvic floor health, I take joy in helping expecting and postpartum women overcome pelvic floor dysfunction (such as pelvic pain, urinary/bowel leakage, etc), back pain, diastasis recti, and guiding them in safely returning to intimacy and exercise. As I head into my 39th week of pregnancy, I’m reflecting on my own pregnancy and how I’ve managed my own health during this beautiful and special time.
I’ve been walking the walk.
I educate women on the importance of seeing a pelvic floor PT during the prenatal period to not only prepare the pelvic floor for birth, but to address any other concerns (ex. back or pelvic pain). So, at 25 weeks, I went to see a pelvic floor PT to assess my own pelvic floor and for help with some hip pain I was experiencing. Yes, even we PTs can benefit from the insight and experience of other PTs when it comes to our health! Absolutely nothing replaces an individual 1:1 assessment with a trained pelvic floor PT. Given my past history of pelvic floor dysfunction, it was essential to have a thorough assessment performed to find the right exercises for ME.
I’ve been practicing self-care.
Ladies, we are fabulous! We do it all. We take care of our families and homes, work full time, care for extended family members, run businesses, you name it! However, during my pregnancy, I’ve had to become accustomed to delegating some responsibilities, cutting back a few hours on work when possible, and accepting some extra help. It’s important to listen to our bodies for what they need. Self-care may include taking a few minutes a day to meditate or to practice deep breathing, taking a yoga class, napping, or having some body work done. It’s also important we recognize if we should seek advice from a mental health professional.
I’ve been looking beyond birth, planning for the 4th trimester.
Having worked with many newly postpartum as well as seasoned mothers, I know how important rest/recovery is after the birthing process. I’ve given much thought about the first few precious weeks after my baby girl arrives. Communication with my husband has been a key element in planning time for me to rest and bond with our newborn. We’re very lucky to have extended family members close by who will also be able to pitch in. For those without a partner or family members nearby, looking into creating a meal train, or having a night nurse or postpartum doula are great options.
I’ve been surprised by how quickly I noticed changes in my body early on in my pregnancy, especially in my own pelvic floor! I’ve tried to stay present through the last 39 weeks and appreciate all that my body is doing to grow my baby. There have definitely been tough times (insomnia, food aversion until week 18, hip and pelvic pain) but I wouldn’t change a thing. Being a pelvic floor PT has been essential in taking care of myself as best as possible during this special time, and in giving me mindfulness to connect with my changing body. I am so excited to share my experiences with future clients after I return from maternity leave.
Marina Castellanos graduated from Quinnipiac University in 2001 with a Masters of Physical Therapy degree. Having experienced symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction as a child, and then again as an adult in the form of severe pelvic pain, she fully appreciates the impact these conditions can have on a patient and their family. Marina began her career as a pediatric physical therapist, embracing therapeutic treatments ranging from gentle interventions for infants, to orthopedic manual skills and strengthening for teens/young adults. Utilizing her background in providing gentle manual techniques, she approaches women’s health physical therapy treatment with sensitivity. Marina is native to Westchester County and enjoys cooking, exercising, and spending time with family and friends. Connect with Marina on MyNestwell.