As a pelvic floor physical therapist, I commonly saw postpartum moms in my treatment room with pelvic pain, low back pain, diastasis rectus, urinary leaking, and bowel issues. A common theme I continued to see was that these moms felt ashamed, confused, and surprised by their symptoms. They felt that they had somehow "failed" their childbirth because they ended up with these symptoms. I often heard questions like, "why didn't anyone teach me about my pelvic floor before
I gave birth?" This made me realize that childbirth education was failing to help moms prepare their bodies for birth. I decided to create my virtual birth course, the Push Lab
which is not only a complete labor and delivery course but also brings my specialty of pelvic health to the forefront. My birth class students learn how to *actually* prepare their body for childbirth to help minimize birth trauma and postpartum dysfunction. My mission is to help moms feel empowered in their childbirth room, whether at a hospital, birth center, or at home.
Which of the symptoms mentioned above do you think is most easily prevented and how?
We now know that there is a huge connection between mindset and pain. We see this in research and in understanding pain science. I believe when moms not only prepare physically for childbirth but also mentally and emotionally, it will help decrease pain during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. When we learn how to support our bodies during pregnancy and learn how to push safely and confidently during childbirth, I find that the road of postpartum healing is easier.
Tell us more about The Push Lab and what inspired you to create it.
My patients initially inspired me to create my birth class after hearing how they did not feel prepared for birth. Another pivotal point for me was when I was pregnant with my firstborn and I enrolled in a hospital birth class. The class taught old-school information (like just perform your kegels during pregnancy) and never mentioned the pelvic floor or safe pushing techniques. I was astounded that this was the norm for birth classes. After experiencing a traumatic induction birth myself, I knew that the class had failed me. I spent a year researching EVERYTHING there is to know about childbirth and I created my birth course because I believe moms deserve to know so much more when preparing to meet their sweet little baby!
The Push Lab is a holistic self-paced virtual birth class that prepares moms physically, mentally, and spiritually for childbirth. It is taught by myself and my husband (who is also a doctor of physical therapy and provides excellent birth partner training with hands on/hands off skills).
Unlike hospital birth classes, this course is meant to support you through your entire pregnancy with a complete exercise library to learn how to prepare the body for pushing. I also provide mindset training to help minimize birth fear and even focus on birth partner communication so they can work as a team during labor and as new parents. The Push Lab
has helped over 1,000 moms globally prepare for an empowered childbirth and an easier postpartum recovery.
Is there a resource (e.g., book, podcast, blog) you frequently recommend to your clients?
I believe that in order to achieve an empowered childbirth, we must turn away from the society standard that it is normal to fear childbirth. Birth does not have to be scary. Sure, a little performance anxiety before childbirth is expected. But to be overwhelmed with crippling anxiety because society paints childbirth as terrible...that's not okay. It seems we only hear traumatic birth stories and I firmly believe that to change this trend, we MUST flood our brains with positive birth stories. Through reading positive birth stories, we are forming positive childbirth associations in our brains so that when we go into labor, our fight or flight nervous system does not go into overdrive.
If pregnant moms do ONE thing, I recommend carving out a few minutes to read empowered birth stories. In fact, I compiled a list of positive birth stories that can be read here on my website.
Anything else you want to share with us?
I know pregnancy and childbirth preparation can feel overwhelming. I felt overwhelmed during my first pregnancy too. I compiled my most popular and helpful Instagram posts by category (i.e. low back pain, pain with sleeping, SPD, Diastasis Rectus, etc.) into Instagram Guides that can be viewed here.
These have helped countless moms and I hope they help your community of moms as well!