Post-Partum Discomfort



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Pregnancy and giving birth place significant stress on the body, causing several physical and physiological changes. During pregnancy, estrogen and progesterone levels increase, additional weight and volume are added to the front of the abdomen, circulation slows, and metabolism speeds up – the impacts of these changes to the body linger after pregnancy. Vaginal birth and C-sections each put certain stresses on the body as well. Discomfort after childbirth, also known as post-partum discomfort, is common. Several post-partum conditions benefit from physical therapy.

Common Causes

Post-partum discomfort can result from normal physical and physiological changes during pregnancy and birth along with less common conditions. Some of the common post-partum conditions are:


Treatment for post-partum discomfort should be tailored to the specific symptoms that each patient is experiencing. In general, physical therapy often focuses on regaining muscle tone and overall endurance. For diastasis recti, treatment typically involves core-strengthening exercises, muscle activation, and patient education. Pelvic joint pain can be treated with pelvic floor muscle exercises. Physical therapy for post-partum cardiovascular deconditioning involves breathing exercises, cardio exercise prescription, and the use of the treadmill test. Carpal tunnel syndrome is generally treated with active stretching, electrical stimulation, muscle-strengthening exercises, and nerve-gliding exercises.