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We all know motherhood can well, be a pain. As I went through pregnancy and experienced childbirth, I never considered the services of a maternal pelvic health specialist might help alleviate some of it. (Heck, I didn’t even know such a specialist existed.) Although my pregnancy was relatively uneventful, I definitely was not prepared for childbirth or how my body would feel afterward.
Little did I know that Ryan Bailey, PT, DPT, WCS, a maternal pelvic health specialist, assists women before, during, and after pregnancy in the Seacoast.
She’s not a doula, but rather a physical therapist who specializes in helping women achieve physical balance and manage pain during and after a pregnancy. The owner of White Lotus Physical Therapy, soon to relocate from Portsmouth to Greenland, New Hampshire, Ryan has been in practice for more than 9 years and opened her own practice in 2015.
White Lotus Physical Therapy helps moms:
- Stay active and pain-free during pregnancy,
- Prepare for and recover from birth,
- Restore pelvic health to prevent pelvic floor dysfunction, and
- Improve posture and muscle imbalances postnatally.
- Ryan’s goal for her patients: to feel empowered through pregnancy, birth, and beyond.
How did Ryan decide to explore this area of physical therapy? It all started when she met a mom (in pain) during her internship.
“She had stretched her femoral nerve and couldn’t walk,” Ryan says. “And it was all because of her birth. I really wanted to figure out how to help her so she could concentrate on becoming a mom. We focused on her breathing and alignment, and by the time my internship was finished, she was walking.”
But Ryan stresses most of the women she sees aren’t badly hurt; they just might need some help staying pain-free throughout their pregnancy, or preparing for labor and delivery through stretching and exercise. She even can assess pelvic floor strength before a woman gets pregnant to help determine if there might be any structural issues that could make the weight of a pregnancy or a natural birth more challenging.
Because Ryan works with her patients one-on-one, she’s able to help women design and practice a solid birth plan well ahead of delivery.
“Once we are in the third trimester, we can focus on gravity positions, pain management techniques, yoga positions, and work on relaxing the pelvic floor. It’s good to have a birth plan that outlines what positions you want to give birth in,” she explains. “We can then practice those positions and make sure that the nurses and providers are on board.”
And unlike many health care providers, Ryan makes house calls.
Because it’s often difficult to arrange child care right after the birth of a baby, Ryan visits Seacoast women in their homes to help them heal comfortably. She can visit clients as soon as two weeks after delivery to jump start wellness.
“I help women establish good body mechanics, establish a safe exercise program, and strengthen the body correctly,” she says. “You don’t have to wait until your six-week appointment to seek me out.”
The mother of a three-year-old herself, Ryan practices what she teaches her clients. She experienced a successful, unmedicated natural childbirth and returned to running shortly after having her daughter.
Don’t wait to seek help. Here are a few of the issues Ryan can help you improve:
- Back pain
- Healing diastasis recti
- Beginning exercise after a C-section
- Painful intercourse
Ryan helps determine your customized treatment plan through:
- Evaluation of your posture, spine and pelvic alignment, and pelvic floor
- Screening for a diastasis recti and fascial system.
- Addressing imbalances with myofascial release, lifestyle education, and a Pilates- and yoga-based exercise approach.
- Leading you in one of her prenatal or post-natal Pilates classes.
Not sure you need help? White Lotus offers free consultations.
“I offer free consultations so moms can come in and meet me,” Ryan explains. “This offers both of us an opportunity to learn about each other, the mom’s concerns, goals, and expectations and determine if I can help. These meetings help moms make a more informed decision about committing to the care I provide.”