On this episode of the Healthy, Wealthy and Smart Podcast, I welcome Helene Darmanin, PT, DPT, CSCS to the program to talk about physical therapy during and after pregnancy. Dr. Helene Darmanin is an orthopedic and pelvic health physical therapist with over a decade of experience facilitating healthy, empowering movement for her clients as a PT, and fitness and pilates instructor. Inspired by her own motherhood and ardent feminism, she specializes in preparing and healing pregnant and postpartum mamas.

In this episode, we discuss:

– Helene’s experience with miscarriage, pregnancy, birth, postpartum

– Body positivity in pregnancy and postpartum and how it can optimize outcomes

– American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology guidelines for exercise while pregnant

– Reasons to go to PT when pregnant

– Reasons to go to PT postpartum

– And much more!


When & Why To See A Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist

10 Ways to Love your Body

Helene’s website

Helene’s Instagram

Helene’s LinkedIn

Helene’s Facebook 

Danford Works 

A big thank you to Net Health for sponsoring this episode! Learn more about the Redoc Patient Portal here. 

More Information about Dr. Darmanin: 

Dr. Helene DarmaninI am an orthopedic and pelvic health physical therapist who specializes in preparing and healing new and expectant mothers. I am currently seeing clients virtually through Danford Works, and am also the creator of Quarantoned, body-positive HIIT at home.

I practice guilt-free PT—physical therapy which fits easily into your day and improves your quality of movement and life. Research has shown that exercise and patient education are the two most effective interventions for positive long-term outcomes, and these can both be offered successfully virtually.

I have over a decade of experience facilitating healthy, strong movement in my clients’ everyday lives. I have a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from New York University, and a Bachelors in Exercise Science from Smith College, and am a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and a Kane School-certified pilates mat instructor. I give workshops and webinars about fitness, pelvic health, and being guilt-free in your pursuit of wellness; I am published in peer-reviewed journals, blogs, and have presented at national conferences. Most importantly, I am a proud mama to my one year old son, and my calico cat.

Read the Full Transcript below:

Speaker 1 (00:01):

Hey, Helene, welcome to the podcast. I am thrilled to have you on welcome.

Speaker 2 (00:06):

Thanks so much, Karen. I’m so grateful to be here.

Speaker 1 (00:09):

And so today we’re going to be talking about pelvic health or women’s health after pregnancy, during pregnancy, which, you know, a lot of longtime listeners of this show will know that I’ve had a lot of episodes on this, but I’m particularly excited about this one, Helene, because you’re going to, I think, bravely share a little bit about your story about your birthing experience and, and your experience with your body and how it changes and continues to change even after. So I’m just going to throw it to you and just kind of let you tell your side of the story. Thanks.

Speaker 2 (00:48):

Yeah, I know that in my, I have a my son is about to be one on Monday in just six days. So I know that in my time, since I gave birth or while I was pregnant hearing other women’s stories always helped me to not, not feel alone, even though I knew what to expect because I specialized in pregnancy and postpartum long before I got pregnant. So I am really excited to share some of my story. The biggest, the biggest thing that, that happened when we first started trying to get pregnant was when we were trying to conceive and we got that positive pregnancy test. We were so excited. But then, and I remember, cause it was Thanksgiving. And all my family was so, so, so excited cause we shared right away. Cause I figured no matter what happened, I wanted to have the support of my loved ones.

Speaker 2 (01:43):

A few days after Thanksgiving, I started to have some bleeding and I started to have some cramping and it, it was before I had even gone for my first prenatal visit with my OB. And when I showed up for my first prenatal visit, she said, congratulations. I said, I’m pretty sure I’m having a miscarriage right now. And, and sure enough I did miscarry at about seven weeks which is early enough that some people don’t even call it a miscarriage. It can be called a chemical pregnancy. My OB was incredible. And she said to me, they say, when it’s this early, that you shouldn’t be comforted because it was probably a chromosomal abnormality. And you know, it, it just naturally aborted itself. She said, but that didn’t help me when I had two miscarriages. So I, I feel you that meant the world to me.

Speaker 2 (02:36):

Cause it was, it was it was a hard thing because we wanted the pregnancy so badly. And then actually I had a lot of trouble with continuing to bleed. And then I ended up needing an emergency DNC because I had a blood clot that was actually blocking the full shedding of the uterus. So that was, you know, in the midst of all the, the sadness, it was also scary and confusing. But I was really fortunate. I had some great practitioners and made it through, made it through. Okay. And then actually we were really lucky because we were able to conceive then the first month that we were allowed to start trying again, I had to get my normal period back, which took about six weeks and then we were able to start trying again. So I feel really fortunate that we were able to do that. And that time I texted my OB right away, I actually used progesterone depositories, which are really uncomfortable. They’re like frozen popsicles of progesterone that you have to insert vaginally every night. There’s really mixed evidence about them. There’s nothing very conclusive, but my OB was like, it’ll make you feel like you’re doing something at bare minimum. You’ll get that great placebo effect.

Speaker 1 (03:50):

And w what does it, what is the reasoning around using that?

Speaker 2 (03:55):

So there’s some thought that the fetus won’t implant, if the progesterone levels are too low, so you’re causing a local increase in progesterone to help facilitate the fetus implanting. Got it.

Speaker 1 (04:06):

Got it. Okay. So sadly, you had a miscarriage, which, you know, for a lot of people listening to this, now, if you follow social media, we were talking about this before Chrissy Tiegen and John legend were very, very open about their miscarriage, which, which happened. I don’t know how many months along she was, but enough. And that the comments were, Oh my gosh, I’m so glad you’re, you’re talking about this. No one talks about this. Women are so ashamed of it. Couples can be ashamed of it. Did you go through any of those feelings or was it like, okay, this happened full steam ahead. Let’s keep trying, you know what I mean? I think you’ve got like both ends of the spectrum. Yeah,

Speaker 2 (04:51):

Yeah, yeah. I think I was somewhere middle of the road. I think I feel very fortunate that I’m was my awesome support network and my great care that I had from my OB and my acupuncturist to who I saw who helped me recover that I, I didn’t feel guilty. I didn’t feel like some I’ve I’ve heard people talk about feeling like their bodies had failed. But I did feel a lot of sadness. I didn’t necessarily share right away, except for, with my very close circle. But I’ve certainly never kept it a secret. I’ve never felt like it was a shameful secret. And I I’ve always wanted to share it in case it does help someone else who has that experience, because as it turns out, the more I talked about it, the more women who I talked to said, Oh, yeah, that happened to me. Oh, that happened to me. Yeah. In fact, a lot of, a lot of my friends were like, I feel like over 30, the first one is like a trial run. And like, you kind of, a lot of women, their pregnancy was that chemical pregnancy or miscarriage.

Speaker 1 (06:01):

Yeah. So all of a sudden you’re not quite so alone. Yes. Oh my goodness. Yeah. So, so now let’s talk. So you get pregnant. So let’s talk about your pregnancy, the birth postpartum, because all of this, part of your story, we’re going to be tying into things that the listeners can do if they’re in any of those phases.

Speaker 2 (06:24):

Yep, absolutely. So I was really lucky during the first trimester. I didn’t have too much morning sickness, some slight nausea that usually eating a croissant helped. Unfortunately it was always a croissant. Well,

Speaker 1 (06:36):

Lucky you. Yeah. And

Speaker 2 (06:39):

But I was exhausted a hundred percent of the time. My first trimester, like I have always been super energetic. I’ve been a fitness instructor, like for my whole adult life. And I just wanted to sleep where I was standing all the time. So exercising was really difficult, which was hard for me because it’s such a part of my life. And I would like put on an episode of Outlander and get on a stationary bike and be like, as long as your legs are moving, it counts. It’s exercise, you know, was like no resistance on the bike. And that would be, I would get to my 30 minutes and counted as a win. So that, that was the first trimester. Second trimester is, was pretty awesome. That’s kind of where it’s at. Cause you’re starting to show, which is fun. And then and energy levels come back up, but you’re not like a whale yet, which is great.

Speaker 2 (07:32):

Well, by the end of the second trimester, when I was starting to get kind of big, then I started to have a very typical pregnancy symptoms of back pain. Interestingly my back pain was the worst kind of at that transition between the second and third trimesters. And then by the end of the third trimester kind of disappeared. My body kind of figured out how to be that size. I felt like I also had extreme swelling in my hands and feet. So I was wearing compression socks wearing wrist splints at night while I was having a lot of risk banks. I was actively working as a physical therapist on my feet and manually treating patients. So that was, that was hard to handle. I tried a cortisone shot, actually. I tried PT, of course. And then I tried a cortisone shot and none of that really helped. I had pretty bad carpal tunnel until I gave birth. And, and it would just like my hands and feet looked like little sausages, which was really pretty funny. And, and by the end of the third trimester, I was again, really tired, but I managed to work until I was 38 and a half weeks pregnant. On my feet demonstrating exercises, even though I gained well over the recommended amount and I gained 47 pounds, which interestingly was exactly what my mother gained with both her pregnancies

Speaker 1 (08:51):

Beard. And so what is the recommended? Isn’t it like 20 to 35 or six 25

Speaker 2 (08:56):

To 35 is the midline though. The most recent American college of obstetrics and gynecology recommendation is anywhere from 11 to 40. So there’s a little more acknowledgement that now there’s a broader range that can be considered normal. Got it.

Speaker 1 (09:09):

Okay. Great. And so I think it’s also, it’s also good to note that what you were feeling back, pain, swelling, these are all, like you said, these are pretty typical, right? It’s not outside the realm of, of normal to have these symptoms when you’re pregnant. Right. Okay. So then you go in, you give birth. Yup. Yup. So,

Speaker 2 (09:30):

So I I had one day of false labor, which was very frustrating. I wanted that kid out by 39 weeks. I was like, Nope, done out. And then a week later I went into real labor. I had a doula, I was just ready to have my vaginal unmedicated birth. That’s what I always wanted. I got to the hospital and luckily I was six centimeters dilated, which is when they consider active labor is starting. So they were able to keep me at the hospital, but Oh my goodness, was I tired? I started having contractions on a Friday, late morning, went into the hospital by about 3:00 AM, Saturday morning. I had gotten maybe three hours of sleep. My duals recommended that I sleep more and I was, and of course that’s what I recommend to all my clients. And I was like, no, no, no, I don’t need to sleep. I’m going to keep walking cause that’ll help my labor progress. So I walked around my block 1 million times. And so by the time I got to the hospital, I was so tired. That’s mostly what I remember is just being exhausted. And I had, you know, I advise on changing positions during labor and, and how to best facilitate things. And my doula was like, let’s get on hands and knees. And I was like, Nope,

Speaker 3 (10:45):

Not moving. I am not moving.

Speaker 2 (10:49):

And then actually did have some complications during labor where my son had a cord wrapped around his shoulder. So every time I would push the cord would become compressed and his heart rate would drop. But my actually it wasn’t my OB. I went in just after she got off call that night at midnight. And I got into the hospital at 3:00 AM. And let the OB who delivered me was sent Hastick. She was really, really fantastic and knew that I was really committed to having an unmedicated vaginal birth. So there was never a moment where she was not where she was considering anything else. She just kept kept me charging. And I ended up giving birth in exactly the position I didn’t want to, which is lithotomy position. So on my back with my niece, Fred and doing directed bowel salvia breathing, which I also didn’t want to do.

Speaker 2 (11:39):

Cause both of those things increase the likelihood of vaginal tearing. But it was the only way that we were going to get that kid safely out with his heart rate dropping. And, and we did, as she was, she was able to cut his before he was fully out and were able to get him delivered vaginally on medicated and safely. So that was, that was quite an experience. And it was really funny actually, my husband was like, yeah, like that’s how you do it. You, you unmedicated. And he like, we’re all these sissies who need, who need epidurals. And my doula was like, no, no, no, no, no, no. You don’t understand. 90% of women in New York city get epidurals. Like your wife is nuts. So I was like, yeah, you don’t get to judge. That’s not an experience you’ll ever have.

Speaker 4 (12:29):

Exactly. yeah. So it was, it was,

Speaker 2 (12:35):

It was a roller coaster and then I still didn’t sleep because I was so excited about having my son. And so that was really like a crazy up and down day then that Saturday when he was born that morning. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (12:51):

Wow. That’s dramatic. That’s a lot of, that’s a lot of drama for, for one birth. But it’s, it’s also, I mean, I can, I can imagine the relief of having him born safely and there you are, you’re in the hospital, you take your baby home, you know, you’re, you’ve been teaching other women on how to work with their postpartum bodies for a long time, but now let’s talk about you get home and, you know, a couple of weeks go by and you have the, we all talk about the dad bod, but you know, there’s like you have like the mummy tummy or the mom bod. So how do you, what advice do you have for people to kind of stay body positive during this whole period, whether it be during the pregnancy postpartum and, and what, what being body positive can do for you?

Speaker 2 (13:50):

Yeah. so I have always been an advocate of body positivity and this was the time in my life where I felt like it really paid off. In general, I think that body positivity creates this cycle of self-care where if you take care of yourself, then you feel good about yourself. And if you feel good about yourself, then you’re more likely to take good care of yourself. And it becomes a very positive spiral. So I’ve often used that with my clients and and it was definitely my turn to use it for myself. I was a ballet dancer, so I definitely have had an awareness of body image for most of my life. When I was pregnant, I, I kept, I felt like when I was pregnant, it wasn’t as hard to have positive body image because everyone was just telling you how beautiful you are and you’re glowing.

Speaker 2 (14:43):

And it’s so exciting and the thrill so you get a lot of positive reinforcement from outside, but I feel like a lot of that ends after you give birth. In fact, just, I was, we were just talking about the New York times in her words newsletter today was a mom who was talking about her experiences postpartum and saying that a lot of times, even if you had a complicated birth that you were in a lot of pain, people say, Oh, well, at least the baby’s healthy and they completely brushed aside the mother and her experience and her symptoms. And I’m very much of the thought that, yes, it’s wonderful, the baby safe and healthy, but in order to be a good parent and effective caregiver, you need to put on your own oxygen mask first. So starting to take good care of yourself and feeling good about yourself is going to make you a better parent in my opinion.

Speaker 2 (15:40):

Plus it’s just it, regardless of your status as a parent, it’s important for especially women because we’re often ignored in this regard to feel good about ourselves. So in terms of staying body positive after I gave birth, I actually strangely I found it very helpful to spend some time like with my body and kind of noticing the changes. So I took a little longer in the shower where I w I would kind of be grateful to different parts of my body while I was showering, like, wow, thanks to my stomach that was able to stretch and hold my son, like thank you to my breasts that are able to produce breast milk and nourish my son. We did have a lot of struggles with breastfeeding. So I was very grateful when we got it down, Pat. And you know, I’ve got rid of a lot of clothing because anything that was squeezing me or making me feel uncomfortable you know, instead of trying to squeeze back into my old clothes where every time I would shift or move, I would feel like the pinching of my old jeans or you know, like the bra cutting into my sides.

Speaker 2 (16:52):

I got rid of all of that, unless I really thought it was realistic that in which case I put it aside and I didn’t even look at it. I lived in leggings and nursing tops for at least three months because it was comfortable. So I wasn’t constantly reminded that I was a different shape that I wasn’t it wasn’t my old body. And I, and then I started moving pretty early in my recovery. I was discharged with the hospital with the very old school instructions of you know, wait six to eight weeks before you start exercising. And then about three weeks I was losing my mind and I was like, Hey, wait a minute. I can give medical advice too. And I can exercise under my own medical supervision. So I I started exercising. I started really gently. And, but there’s even, there’s at least one study.

Speaker 2 (17:46):

I believe there are a couple studies that have shown that even one bout of exercise increase, improves your body image. So getting moving and feeling like I was in control of my body and really starting to feel what it was capable of for myself, not just feeling what it was capable of in terms of giving birth to a human, which was also incredible. But, but starting that again, feel like, Oh, look, I can lift this weight. I can do this movement. And, and all the positive feelings that come from exercise definitely also helped.

Speaker 1 (18:21):

Yeah. And, and kind of again, taking agency over your, over your body. And I really love the, you know, giving yourself a little extra love in the shower. I think that’s great advice for anyone, if you had birth, if you gave birth or not, you know, sometimes just getting older things change, you know, and being able to acknowledge that things change and that’s okay. And you’re still, you know, in love with everything that you have. I love that. That’s great advice. So now you talked about exercising. You sort of went back about three weeks after, but let’s talk about exercising while pregnant. So there can college of obstetrics and gynecology. They put out guidelines on exercise. So do you want to kind of fill us in on maybe what those guidelines are so that if there are women out there listening that are pregnant at the moment, they can have a better idea of what they can and can’t do.

Speaker 2 (19:20):

Absolutely. I’m really excited about them actually, because there are new ones this year that are much more forward thinking in their recommendations. So there has been a lot of fear-mongering about exercising while you’re pregnant in the past. And this year, the recommendations are that virtually everyone can exercise while they’re pregnant, whether you exercise before you were pregnant or not. They do recommend that everyone obtain a medical clearance first with a, with a thorough exam to talk about any possible medical complications that could arise from exercising. But you know, there used to be the wisdom used to be that if you didn’t exercise before you couldn’t start, while you were pregnant and they have completely changed that and they, even to the point where if you are an athlete or someone who regularly exercise at high intensity, they say that you can continue to do that through the third trimester safely.

Speaker 2 (20:20):

And they recommend exercise because it actually decreases the incidence of diabetes, of gestational diabetes and other blood pressure complications while pregnant like three clamps SIA. It decreases the likelihood of pre of giving birth preterm and decreases actually the incidents of low birth weight, interestingly, and it also decreases recovery time postpartum. So it improves postpartum outcomes kind of sets you up for success, especially during time where you might not have time or might not be able to exercise yet right after giving birth. And it actually increases the likelihood of having a vaginal birth. So if that’s something you desire, exercise can help you get there. And it decreases the likelihood of postpartum depressive disorders. So those endorphins that you get while you’re exercising kind of carry through to the postpartum period. Well, that’s a lot of positives for exercising while pregnant. Are there any sort of big no-nos and on that,

Speaker 1 (21:18):

No, we’re going to take a quick break to hear from our sponsor and be right back. This episode is brought to you by net health, helping you maintain strong relationships with your patients. The redox patient portal provides secure line of communication between you and your patients conduct virtual visits and have follow-up conversations with your patients via secure messaging. When it’s convenient for you, patients have 24 seven secure on-demand access to their therapy, health information without phone calls and voice messages, video conferencing for telehealth, secure messaging, shared documents and photos and view health information, and appointments to learn more, contact them@redocatnethealth.com.

Speaker 2 (22:05):

A lot of it’s on an individual basis and getting assessed by a PT who specializes is a great idea to see if you’re able to still engage your transversus abdominis and see what positions might be best for you. If they do continue to recommend that you don’t stay supine on your back for longer than two to three minutes, past 20 weeks of pregnancy, because you can become hypotensive because of the weight of the fetus on your on your blood supply. And they also recommend that you, they also really emphasize staying well hydrated. And if you’re doing anything vigorous for more than 45 minutes to really make sure you have adequate calorie intake before maybe during and after to avoid hypoglycemia, which is not uncommon in pregnancy with my clients, I still recommend avoiding isometric exercises. So planks are awesome.

Speaker 2 (23:01):

Just make them dynamic somehow to help the body regulate the blood pressure, because it’s just a lot of demand if you’re holding a position and you’re holding that tone in the muscles and you’re trying to support a fetus it, it helps a little bit to keep those muscle pumps helping the blood pressure regulate. Besides that it’s, it’s on a very individual basis. It’s what you’re familiar with. It’s how your pregnancy has been progressing. So it’s really a good idea to talk to somebody. Okay. And speaking about talking to somebody, everybody who listens knows I’m a physical therapist, you’re a physical therapist. So let’s talk about reasons why women should go to a physical therapist when they’re pregnant. I mean, it doesn’t have to mean you, it doesn’t mean you have to go every week of your entire pregnancy, but talk about why

Speaker 1 (23:47):

Every woman should be seeing a physical therapist when they are pregnant. Yes. Period.

Speaker 2 (23:53):

I love that. Yes, they should. So in the same guidelines this year, Aycock says that back pain has an incidence of about 60% in pregnancy, but that’s extremely under-reported because most women just consider it a normal part of being pregnant. So I think back pain in pregnancy is pretty much universal. So that’s one great reason to go to PT because it can help alleviate that back pain. And I did see a physical therapist myself when I was pregnant to help with the back pain. Also if you’re having experienced experiencing things like sciatica wrist pain, which I had one kind of wrist pain while I was pregnant, different kind of risk pain after I gave birth, partly just because of the increase in fluid in the body. But then also changing joint mechanics because your ligaments are looser. If you have pelvic pain or pubic synthesis dysfunction, which you would know, cause your doctor would tell you, or you’d have a lot of fat in the front of your pelvis or even sprained ankles have a higher incidence in women who are pregnant. Because again, if those joint changes but also

Speaker 1 (24:57):

If you are having the perfect

Speaker 2 (25:00):

And see, which would be amazing and you have no pain whatsoever, you’re that miracle person you can still help prepare for giving birth. There are PTs who specialize in helping with things like breathing, breathing techniques, preparing your pelvic floor muscles, and it might be a simple consultation. One time, two time to get some advice on, on what you can do to help yourself prepare. And also if you have any history of injuries or any current pain, then also PTs can help advise on what positions might be good for you and they can help coordinate with your OB or your midwife, whoever your burning professional is.

Speaker 1 (25:36):

Absolutely. And now all great reasons. Now let’s talk about after you give birth the fourth trimester, right? So Aycock has came out with these guidelines about the fourth trimester. So first, can you tell us what the fourth trimester is for those who are not aware and then how, what is the physical therapist’s role in the postpartum period?

Speaker 2 (25:57):

Absolutely. So fourth trimester kind of a tongue in cheek, a way of describing a three months after giving birth. Because the idea is that you’re still, your body is still changing and your baby is also still changing a lot. There’s some thought that when we were primates, our babies would have just dated for longer and come out further along, but our heads became too large and that’s why babies started to be born earlier and earlier. So that’s part of the reason that human babies are so vulnerable when they’re born, as opposed to other species, like, you know, drafts who like pop out and run away from their mothers. And meanwhile, our kids can’t, can’t see, or

Speaker 1 (26:40):

Little blobs on my back. They’re adorable blabs, but yeah,

Speaker 2 (26:44):

They, they can’t do anything. So and one thing I hear a lot about the fourth trimester is women trying to get their bodies back which I need to bounce back quickly. I think it’s just so depressing because, because you’re not going back, why would we ever want to go backwards in your life? So why not take your body forwards with you? I love that. And, and you know what I, I will say just personally, like I, I gained, like I said, 47 pounds while I was pregnant. I have since lost all 47 pounds. I am still breastfeeding though. So we’ll see what happens, but I am shaped totally differently than I was. And it’s, it’s not a good thing or a bad thing, at least to me, like it’s just different. My body is totally different now. And that’s, that’s okay.

Speaker 2 (27:38):

You know, I, I’m really excited about what it can do. I love being a mom, so that’s really important, but anyway, and physical therapy in the world of physical therapies. So again, it’s a lot of similar reasons, usually back pain, but that can be again from a, it can be from how you gave birth. It can be from if you’re, especially if you’re still breastfeeding, you still have a lot of those quote unquote pregnancy hormones that cause the ligaments to be a little bit more flexible. Plus if you’re breastfeeding the way that you’re holding your child also if you’re even just picking the kid up and down and getting on and off the floor and changing diapers, which can like, by the time they can turn over, sometimes it’s like a circus you know, that that can cause back pain, wrist pain.

Speaker 2 (28:30):

And then of course you have your pelvic recovery, which I, for the first week, I, I don’t think I was thinking about myself very much, but every once in a while I would realize that I felt like my vagina was on fire and sitting was horrible. It was the worst thing ever. I remember going, we were taking my son to his pediatrician, visit his first pediatrician visit. And I was sitting in the car like sideways on one butt cheek to try to avoid putting my perinatal area on the seat because it was so uncomfortable. So that, you know, that’s normal for the first week, unfortunately even if you’ve had a Syrian birth that can you still have that huge change in, in your pelvis after it, no longer has this weight on it. And you have all these hormones released, so it could still be very uncomfortable and tender in your perinatal area.

Speaker 2 (29:25):

But yeah, that, that brings me to another point. Scars are big thing that should be treated. You would treat a scar from any other surgery or massive injury. So I don’t know why it’s not routine to refer for scar therapy after if you’ve had any vaginal tearing with giving birth or if you’ve had a cesarean birth those scars that can really cause a change in function. They’re not as elastic as the tissue around them. And that excessive tissue that’s there can disrupt the function and cause a lot of discomfort. So I had grade two vaginal tearing because of my birth experience. And I, I saw a PT myself to have my scar tissue manually worked on and work on some release techniques from my pelvic floor, which was super tense because it was trying to hold everything together during that postpartum phase. So I’m not, and that also for me, I had pain with penetrative sex after, you know, you go to the opiate and they’re like, yup, healed, done. Yeah. You know, go back to doing whatever you want. And I was, I was terrified of resuming sexual intercourse and I’m very grateful for my PT who helped me figure out how to comfortably and safely get back to, to having sex. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (30:52):

You know, all these things, like you said, like so many women are experiencing these things and I think it’s so important to just vocalize that and put that out into the universe so that women could be like, Oh, wait a second. Oh, I can go to a PT and they can help with that. Or I can go to PT and they can help with incontinence afterwards, or they can help, you know, like you said, have sex with my husband or my partner afterwards. I mean, wow, this is revolutionary for a lot of women, you know, to know that this resource exists. And you just have to find that physical therapist, preferably one who is trained in pelvic health and who understands understands the pelvis in a more intimate way. And, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re, your therapist has to be a woman. There are also men who specialize in pelvic health as well. So I want to give a shout out to all of our colleagues doing that around the country as well.

Speaker 2 (31:50):

Yeah. Oh, go ahead. Sorry. I was just gonna say you know, also there are PTs who have been trained in helping support breastfeeding in terms of what positions to use treating clog ducks, or even just education on you know, effective techniques. There’s also pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence, as you mentioned, which can happen regardless of if you’ve had a child or not. And that can also be treated with physical therapy. Again, some incontinence after giving birth is actually normal for up to a month or two, but if you’re still leaking after that, then you should definitely seek help. And again, even, even like you said, it was pregnancy like why every pregnant woman should get PT. Everyone should get some advice, professional advice on how to safely return to movement, whatever movement you want to do, whether it’s, you know a yoga class or a couple of group fitness classes or going back to playing a sport. And that’s, that’s something where we that’s something we specialize in is movement. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (32:51):

And, and in many countries it’s, everyone goes to standard care. It’s a standard of care, you know, and, and hopefully now that these are part of the guidelines by a cog, that that is something that will become a standard of care. You know, I interviewed dr. Camila Phillips, who is an OB GYN at Lenox Hill and she recommends all of her patients to see a PT and I love it. And that was awesome. Brilliant. But I don’t know. She might be in the minority. I’m not sure I think she is, but, you know, experience. Yeah. But I just, I just love that she is so forward-thinking, and, and for women to know that you have all of these resources, it’s so empowering to kind of help you back, get back to not get back to, but help you move forward. I love that. I almost say get back to, well, get back to doing what you like to do. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Get back to doing what you like to do and whether that be any kind of movement or running or, or a high intensity sports, you know, just because you have a child doesn’t mean that, that you can’t return to the things you were doing before. And I think that’s where the PT comes in.

Speaker 2 (34:03):

Absolutely. And with the help of my PT and like my own expertise at like five months, I was back to boxing and high intensity interval training. And I will tell you though, the first time I tried to do a jump after giving birth, I mean, I don’t, I don’t remember how long postpartum I was, maybe three or four months. I was like, Oh my God, I am an elephant. Like, I just felt like I had no pep, no spring whatsoever. I felt like every time I landed, I was like sod. It took a good few months for me to feel like I had my, my spring back, my like pep in my step.

Speaker 1 (34:36):

Yeah. Yeah. And, and again, you know, this is, I think this is all great for people to hear. Like we don’t, I think women don’t give birth and then, you know, go back to like walking the Victoria secret runway show like Heidi Clume, you know, like it’s, that’s not normal. No, do that like four weeks after you give birth, not normal. Like that is an exceptional human being there who has very good genetics, I’m assuming. And also it’s her job.

Speaker 2 (35:04):

Yes. And a lot of expensive support

Speaker 1 (35:07):

And a lot of expensive support that us average Joe’s just do not have. Nope. Don’t have it. All right. So Helene, what would you like to leave the listeners with, if you could leave them with, you know, your, your top tip or your takeaways from this? From our discussion here,

Speaker 2 (35:27):

That’s a tough one because there’s so many good tidbits in there. Yeah, I think my top tip is, is just to love, love where you are. I would love your body, where it is, love it for what it’s done, love it for what it can do right now. And, and get some help if you need help loving it. If you need help you know, getting it to do what you wanted to do, there is so much help available. It’s just a matter of finding it, which shouldn’t be as difficult as it is, but it is there. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (36:01):

Fabulous. And now last question that I ask everyone, given where you are now in your life and in your career, what advice would you give yourself as a new grad fresh out of physical therapy?

Speaker 2 (36:15):

Cool. Well, I would say trust your intuition. My program was very into evidence-based physical therapy, which is awesome and everything should be grounded in evidence, but never forget that clinical expertise in clinical experiences, also a level of evidence.

Speaker 1 (36:36):

And I’ve heard that many times from people on the show.

Speaker 2 (36:40):

Sure. You have that. I’ve heard it. I’ve heard it on your show too.

Speaker 1 (36:43):

Yeah. Many times. Well now, where can people find you? Where can people get in touch with you if they have questions or they want to know what you’re up to.

Speaker 2 (36:50):

Ah, great question. I’m on Instagram at Halloween B underscore PT. That’s the best place to find me I’m currently practicing at Danford works. And so you can find me there or I would love to hear from anybody via email, it’s HD the pt@gmail.com. Perfect.

Speaker 1 (37:10):

And we will have all of those links in the show notes for this episode at podcast at healthy, wealthy, smart.com. So if you didn’t have a pen on you, you didn’t write it all down. Don’t worry. One click will take you to everything Helene. And I will say she also on her Instagram account, really great exercises, advice, and support. So if you’re looking for for that, then definitely follow her on Instagram because you give a lot of great XYZ and support, especially for women throughout an after pregnancy. So definitely give her a follow on Instagram. So Helene, thank you so much for coming on. This was wonderful. And thank you for sharing your story because I know it’s not easy. Thanks, Tara and everyone else. Thanks so much for listening. Have a great couple of days and stay healthy, wealthy and smart.


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©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.
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