Mommy Wellness

By Majia Vance

Vance was blessed with her third child, Ezra, last April, but her pregnancy had been difficult and her post-partum recovery was not going well. She didn’t want to give up her job as a yoga instructor for MCMC, but the pain and discomfort were bad enough they threatened to take that decision out of her hands.

But a referral to the MCMC physical therapist Gina Clark, PT, DPT, put Vance back in control of her life. And Clark’s experience with Vance, and other women she had treated previously with similar issues, convinced her it was time to give new life to a program designed to help women through the sometimes difficult and confusing period following the birth of a child.

Called Mommy Wellness, the program is led by Clark but also involves a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals who specialize in women’s issues, including physicians, pelvic and breast health therapists and staff from MCMC’s Mind-Body Medicine program.

“Many women just don’t know a lot about the post-partum recovery period,” Clark says. “They often think the pain or discomfort they are experiencing is normal. But it can last longer than is necessary and it’s not always normal.”

Mommy Wellness also addresses postpartum depression, requiring participants to take part in a screening process to identify mental health problems that could be serious if not addressed.

The program is designed to start after a mom’s standard six-week, post-partum follow-up visit with her ob/gyn or midwife. Because of what they learn in class sessions, participants will better understand whether they need to seek additional medical help or if their concerns can be addressed through self-care.

In addition to women who have already delivered their babies, Mommy Wellness also is open to women during their pregnancies, with the exercise component modified as appropriate for each participant.

Mommy Wellness was developed at Mid-Columbia Medical Center several years ago, but has been updated by a group of professionals dedicated to improving patient care and education.

“The best service we can provide to somebody is giving them education to treat themselves,” Clark says, and Vance agrees.

“I was referred to Gina after my follow-up visit with my midwife,” she says. “I was still having pain, and it was so comforting to hear that Gina had heard about this before. Having someone to consistently work with was so helpful. I wish I had done this with my other kids, and I am so excited that other women now have access to this program.”

With the help of physical therapy, Vance didn’t have to veer off course when she reached her career crossroads. She is now pain free and back at work, helping others enhance their own health through yoga.

To schedule a free individual consult with Gina Clark, PT, DPT call 541.296.7202, or obtain a referral from your provider for an initial evaluation.

An interdisciplinary approach to education and exercise for the post-partum period. Pregnant moms are welcome too.

Classes run every six to eight weeks and will focus on a variety of topics including:

  • Exercise and play with baby
  • Pelvic rehabilitation
  • Bowel and bladder habits
  • Sexual recovery
  • Scar management
  • Mommy and baby ergonomics
  • Baby sign language
  • Acupuncture, massage and weight loss
  • Mother and baby nutrition
  • Breast health and lactation
  • Postpartum fatigue
  • Postpartum depression

To register for the class please call MCMC Outpatient Therapy 541.296.7202.

All classes are free. Kids Club childcare is available by reservation, and babies are welcome in class.