Issues Postpartum Mamas Face–Guest Blog Post By Dr. Emily Kiberd
Once your baby is born, the typical assumption is if baby is doing well then mama is doing just fine. It’s easy to ignore your body’s physical needs when you are juggling feeding sessions and marathon diaper changes, all on a lack of sleep and fluctuating emotions dictated by hormones.
However, there are common issues that postpartum mothers encounter that are rarely discussed. Wellness Expert and Movement Specialist Dr. Emily Kiberd of the Urban Wellness Clinic shares addresses these issues as well as the solutions.
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
After a natural birth, many women experience pelvic floor dysfunction. An average of 70% of Postpartum mama’s experience either a weakened pelvic floor and incontinence during or after pregnancy, or a facilitated (also known as overactive) pelvic floor, which can often be present during sex and is extremely painful.
A weakened pelvic floor can be strengthened with Kegels, but we also need to find out why somewhere in the intrinsic core there is overactivity. This can come from the jaw muscles or thediaphragm from pushing while giving birth. Think of the intrinsic core as a container and all sides need to be soft and malleable while also intact and ready to fire.
A facilitated pelvic floor is the lesser known problem, where there can be scar tissue in the pelvic floor muscles, causing contracture and pain.
At the Urban Wellness Clinic, we use muscle testing to see what areas of the pelvic floor are weak or overactive and how the rest of the intrinsic core is reacting and firing in relation to the pelvic floor.
We then release the scar tissue within the pelvic floor if it is prevention full contracture of the pelvic floor. We also teach self-release and work to strengthen whatever we find weak within the pelvic floor or in the intrinsic core.
De Quervain’s Tendonitis, Upper Back Pain, Headaches and Shoulder Instability
Holding the baby in new positions and using the forearm and hand more to hold up the new baby instead of shoulder and core stability leads to inflammation of these tendons.
In this situation, we would perform the Active Release Technique around the area that feels inflamed and tight. We then give stretches for the tight area, typically the forearm extensors and pronator teres as well and strengthen the area that we find weak. This is typically the shoulder stabilizer muscles, i.e. lats, middle and lower trap and serratus anterior. We also give suggestions on other ways to breastfeed to switch up the options to avoid overusing one breast feeding position. We understand that breastfeeding can feel harder than giving birth at times, but our goals is to give patients the tools of fully take care of themselves.
Dr. Emily Kiberd is the founder of the Urban Wellness Clinic, where she has one mission: to get her patients back to doing what they love, faster. A chiropractor and yoga teacher, Dr. Kiberd teaches yoga at Fortress Investment Group, Perry Capital, and Sundance Channel. She also teaches anatomy and biomechanics to yoga teacher trainees nationally in 200-hour training programs, and lectures at Fortune 500 companies on yoga in the office, ergonomics, and stress reduction. As a young athlete who suffered frequent sports injuries, Dr Kiberd discovered her fascination with the body’s biomechanics after an old sprained ankle was the root cause of her headaches as a teenager. She later discovered yoga as a practice of optimized alignment and movement to maintain a supple body while staying active. She is currently one of the only chiropractors in Manhattan who also teaches yoga as a form of physical therapy. With an innovative combination of biomechanics, movement patterns, and yoga, Dr Kiberd uses her keen eye to correct the body’s compensation patterns and restore alignment. Her treatment includes a thorough movement assessment, soft tissue manipulation, specific yoga poses for strength and alignment, and gentle chiropractic care. She partners with like-minded practitioners to provide the most effective and individualized treatment for her patients. With Dr. Kiberd, patients leave with sustainable, long-lasting tools to support their wellness and prevent future injury.