Fetus Facts

As I sit outdoors on a beautiful, sunny spring afternoon, listening to Hamilton while I write this blog, the future is looking brighter both literally and figuratively. I am so grateful that much progress has been made thus far in our fight against Covid-19, and I think it is safe to say that thank God, our current circumstances are better than they were one short (yet seemingly very long) year ago. For example, I didn’t have to resort to cutting/accidentally butchering my bangs before Passover this year, because I was able to once again return to my hair salon. (You may have noticed that I had a different hairdo than my usual signature bangs in several of my Pelvic Pearls YouTube videos. The pulled back headband look was inspired by that experiment gone awry. Secret’s out!)

Joking aside and obviously more importantly, we now have two viable vaccines available. While I respect anyone who chooses to refrain from receiving the vaccine at present for whatever reason, I am a fully vaccinated, strong proponent who is grateful for this incredible development. Fortunately, approximately 20% of the country has been fully vaccinated with many more pending. New York has now offered vaccinations for anyone over the age of thirty regardless of one’s profession, and the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for teenagers aged 16-19.

Until recently, very few studies have focused on the effects of the vaccine on pregnant women as it was feared to be unsafe. Sadly, over 80,000 pregnant women have been infected with Covid-19, and 88 have passed away in the United States. In addition, this demographic is more likely to exhibit severe symptoms, to need intensive care admission, and to require a ventilator compared to their non-pregnant counterparts.

Fortunately, a recently approved and conducted NIH study revealed that Covid-19 vaccination during pregnancy resulted in improved maternal and fetal immunity. The presence of antibodies in both breast milk and the placenta indicated that vaccination during pregnancy confers immunity to the developing fetus. Furthermore, the vaccinated study participants exhibited higher antibody levels than women who naturally had antibodies during pregnancy due to actual infection. It is interesting to note that antibody levels were higher in women who received vaccination earlier in their pregnancy. The side effects were similar in both the pregnant and non-pregnant groups.

While individual consultation with one’s own ob/gyn is warranted and encouraged, it is nice to be able to share these positive findings. May we continue to share additional good news and to experience more promising developments.

Reference:

Gray KJ, et al. COVID-19 vaccine response in pregnant and lactating women: a cohort study. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2021.

An Ounce of PT Prevention

No one wants to deal with urinary incontinence (UI), or involuntary loss of urine. Unfortunately, an estimated 25-45% of women will experience UI at some point during their lives. As if that were not bad enough, it has been hypothesized that women who experience UI are at risk of developing uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs). I am sure you would agree that this is a rather unwanted two for one deal. The reason for this is that dysfunctional voiding can disrupt the normal flow of urine through the urethra, which can result in bacteria travelling back to the bladder and creating infection.

Past research has focused on and proven that pelvic floor physical therapy can help reduce UI symptoms…but does pelvic floor PT help with UTI prevention?

I am not the only one who has pondered this question. Lucky for us, Dr. Kate Divine and Dr. Lisa McVey have asked themselves the same question and kindly performed research to help answer it. They conducted a single-subject case study with a 50-year-old schoolteacher who presented with a ten-year history of UI, UTIs, urinary urgency/frequency, and pelvic pain. Her conservative pelvic floor physical therapy treatment plan included bladder retraining, biofeedback, electrical stimulation, patient education, and exercises. After six sessions, the patient had achieved all her goals. When the researchers checked in with her three months later, she had not experienced any UTIs (compared to pre-treatment, when she typically experienced them every 1-2 months) or UI symptoms.

Obviously, additional research is warranted to explore if the same results occur across the board, because a sample size of one is rather small. It would also be interesting to see if the positive results continue beyond three months. But this is a huge first step. The research is extremely promising, especially because resistance to UTI antibiotics is on the rise. The fact that physical therapy, a conservative and non-pharmacologic approach, may be of help further reinforces my strong belief in “an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.”

If you are someone you know stands to benefit from pelvic floor physical therapy to address either UI or recurrent UTIs, please contact us! It would be an honor to serve as your healing agents.

Divine, Kate PT, DPT, WCS; McVey, Lisa PT, DPT Physical Therapy Management in Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections: A Case Report, Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy: January/March 2021 – Volume 45 – Issue 1 – p 27-33 doi: 10.1097/JWH.0000000000000189

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