Understanding the role physical therapy can have in treating infertility.
Today I am here with Mary Ellen Kramp, Physical Therapy Specialist as well as a technician in craniosacral therapy, lymphatic drainage, and visceral manipulation. We have a lively and in-depth talk on the importance of structural integration when you are trying to get pregnant, as well as during pregnancy, and then my favorite part of this topic, what you can do for yourself postpartum. Mary Ellen’s gentle approach has helped many women with issues both during pregnancy and postpartum. It’s rare that women get referred for physical therapy related to fertility issues, but Mary Ellen works hard to change any stigma, open up a dialogue, and be an advocate for the benefits and health-related gains of seeing either her or a practitioner with a similar approach. Finally, we talk with her about self-care being one of the most important things you can do for yourself, your partner, and your baby, along with her advice for those trying to have a baby.
[2:15] Mary Ellen gives the background of her becoming a physical therapist. Both she and I are nerds at heart with a love for the human body and healing! She ended up getting a reputation as the person to see when no one could figure out what was going on with them.
[5:20] The normal fertility rate is 57% of couples trying by 3 months will become pregnant, and her results were bringing people up to the average.
[9:27] Mary Ellen raised therapy guide dogs and now there are puppies at her office!
[11:49] Mary Ellen takes a very gentle, yet effective, approach to physical therapy for infertility. She looks for trigger points, muscular and structural issues, and acts as a catalyst to get the body to release what it does not need.
[16:21] Mary Ellen looks at both the pelvic muscles to see if there is anything to be released and then next the lymphatic system. The lymph system and fascia are both two crucial elements often overlooked when it comes to fertility and women’s health.
[20:43] She often treats women during pregnancy around week 36 to help prevent birth trauma. Some need just one appointment, and some need more frequent treatment.
[24:05] Postpartum work is super important to help a plethora of issues that women may think they are stuck with for the rest of their life.
[34:46] Women in France take a few weeks after giving birth to get physical therapy for their pelvic floor walls.
[37:29] Mary Ellen and I both stress the importance of self-care after giving birth.
[39:36] Her one piece of advice for women trying to get pregnant: there is so much more than just Western Medicine. You have to do what you need to become pregnant, but keep an open mind to the body/mind connection and “alternative” treatments.
[42:10] With some women who have abuse and trauma in their past, their pelvic floor holds a lot of tension. Usually, it helps to deal with the emotional portion first, and then it will help to unblock the head and the heart. Then a physical worker can help clear some of the trauma.