Is self-treatment effective for postpartum pelvic weakness?
Julie Gillespie Julie Gillespie

Is self-treatment effective for postpartum pelvic weakness?

A new mom considering physical therapy recently asked me this question:

Q: “Do I have to see a physical therapist to treat my pelvic floor weakness? Or can I treat it myself with Kegel exercises?

A: Twenty-eight years ago I tried to self-treat my own postpartum incontinence, and I learned a valuable lesson in the process. I often share this personal story with my patients:

After the birth of my first child, who is now 28 years old, I was incontinent and needed to find a solution. There were no pelvic floor physical therapists on the West Coast at the time, so I did some research and ordered a perineometer, which is an internal vaginal kegel probe that uses lights and noise to signal whether your pelvic floor muscles are “on” or not. But six months into this self-treatment, my urinary incontinence and prolapse were even worse.

I was lucky to identify a pelvic floor physical therapist, in Boston, and decided to fly out to meet with her. During our session she took one look at me and said …

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15 Years Post Delivery - My Personal Inner/Outer Core Journey to an Emotional and Physical Reconnection
Julie Gillespie Julie Gillespie

15 Years Post Delivery - My Personal Inner/Outer Core Journey to an Emotional and Physical Reconnection

When I was 31 weeks pregnant with my triplets, I had a big scare that caused a dramatic inner core/outer core disconnect for me. One of my baby’s amniotic sacs broke and I was rushed to the ER and immediately prepped for an emergency delivery of the triplets. This was a very scary scenario; we knew that an emergency delivery could land all three babies on ventilators and at risk of cerebral palsy and/or eye deformities. But then our brilliant UCLA obstetrician Dr. Tabsh offered another option: he said that if I could simply STAY STILL, the baby’s amniotic sac could regenerate fluid and I might be able to carry the triplets safely to term. Dr. Tabsh explained that every 1 day immobilized on bed rest could equal 3 fewer days per child in the NICU. And with the cost of NICU at $30K per child per day, I was doubly motivated to limit the newborns’ stay in the NICU.

So of course I agreed to stay still.

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