“Do I need to wait until I fully stop nursing, and/or wait until my postpartum hormones have returned back to pre-pregnancy levels to be able to begin pelvic floor physical therapy (PFPT)?”
HECK NO! You do NOT need to delay your healing, Mama.
There is NO REASON why prenatal hormones, nursing hormones, postpartum hormones, and PFPT cannot co-exist together despite many mom’s being told otherwise from their medical providers. This recommendation is terribly misguided. In fact, seeing a PFPT throughout all stages of your pregnancy and postpartum journey is invaluable, and should be the “standard of care”.
Your hormones are going to be in flux for a while during pregnancy, and again postpartum, and won’t return back to pre-pregnancy baseline until about 90days after one fully stops nursing. Also, women nurse for anywhere from days to years in duration, so having to wait until that is all concluded before seeking the care you need from a PFPT isn’t an appropriate recommendation.
That’s like saying, “Oh, you have a shoulder injury and you’re wanting PT support? Well, what phase of your menstrual cycle are you in? Oh, you’re in the high hormone phase of your cycle? Sorry, yeah you need to wait till your hormones return back to baseline before we can see you…”
That recommendation wouldn’t fly then, and it shouldn’t fly when you’re pregnant or postpartum either. Your hormones should not be used against you, or prevent you, from getting the medical care you need and deserve for your pregnancy and postpartum recovery.
So the next time a provider tells you that you need to wait, I encourage you to keep asking for a PFPT referral. If they give you resistance or deny your referral here’s my pro-tip: Tell the provider that is refusing your referral that you would like them to document in your medical record that you are asking for a referral and it is being denied. It’s highly unlikely you’ll walk out of that office without your referral
And if that still doesn’t get their attention, know you can ask any MD for a referral for PFPT.
Mamas, what was your experience when you asked your doctor for a PFPT referral?