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Old 02-20-2012, 04:14 PM   #10
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,314
Re: Vaginal Reeducation

I think the article makes it too extreme. This kind of physical therapy does exist in the US and, for me, was covered like any other physical therapy recommended by my midwife/ob gyn. It's called pelvic floor physical therapy or women' health physical therapy, and you can find a provider here: It was covered by my insurance and I paid my standard PT co-pay for it, about $30 a session (don't remember precisely) and it was a pretty generous number of sessions.

I did just the same exercises she mentions... biofeedback with internal sensor and computer screen, PT teaching to lift and hold, lift and hold at 50% power, etc. I didn't play any video games and had very little of the manual stimulation or assessment. My PT is also very interested in combining core strength and the transverse abdominals to work in tandem with the pelvic floor, so her vision combines some of the abdominal PT that the author describes as separate.

Interestingly, the author is also too extreme to say that this is uniquely French. I lived in Belgium (Dutch-speaking part) when my second was born and had both pre- and post-natal physical therapy. It was a standard recommendation and was largely covered by my Belgian insurance, although I may have had a small co-pay. However, the quality of both the pre- and post-natal therapy was not very good (and I went to two different therapists). I was surprised that even in a country where it was standard, it didn't guarantee a high quality therapist.

I did have the same experience as she did with my obgyn; no gown, no leaving the room, no curtain to change behind. Just take off your pants while the obgyn waited. It was funny. I also was recommended a standard 5 day hospital about a super easy vaginal birth, which I thought was over-kill and not at all a good use of national health funds. I think it would be cheaper and more effective to send women with an easy recovery home after 2 days and then pay for 2-3 home visits by a nurse/lactation consultant in the first week.

I don't know if I think this physical therapy would be a good thing to be standard in the US, mostly because not all women need it. I do think this kind of therapy should be more well-known and covered like other PT, and that obgyns should be quick to refer rather than describe Kegels in 2 minutes and consider the job done.

Really, you can get the same thing in the US, probably paid for in the same way as any physical therapy, depending on your insurance. The difference in the article is that getting the therapy appears standard in France and it seems to be fully covered. But written that plainly, there wouldn't be any article to submit to Slate.
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