Welcome to our Specialist Spotlight Series. We launched our Resource Library because we wanted women everywhere to know that urinary incontinence is a treatable condition, and for them to be able to explore what specialists and treatments might be right for them. In this series, we highlight some of the incredible specialists within our Specialist Directory, and shine a light on the ways they’re helping women every day.
Name, occupation, and where you practice.
Hi there! I’m Dr. Rebecca Maidansky, PT, DPT. I’m a pelvic floor physical therapist and the owner of Lady Bird Physical Therapy, a clinic in Austin, TX that specializes in helping people manage pregnancy pains, prepare for birth and recover postpartum.
If you feel comfortable, feel free to add some context beyond your professional identity.
I’m a vocal, intersectional feminist and advocate for pelvic health care accessibility and inclusivity. Our clinic works to keep culturally and racially competent care at the forefront of our practice and aims to create a safe space for all birthing people. We believe Black lives matter and that every individual deserves to be able to feel safe and cared for while receiving care. My personal hobbies include exploring the outdoors, hiking, camping, reading, and spending time with my loved ones.
Your Purpose and POV
What inspires you to do what you do [professionally] every day, and how did you end up focusing on this profession?
I ended up in this field serendipitously. I used to call it accidentally but in retrospect I don’t think that’s true. I’ve always cared deeply about women’s health and rights, and it’s impossible to separate how birthing culture in the United States and the way we treat pregnant and postpartum people plays into gender based discrimination. As I started my career, I began to see pregnant and postpartum people receiving such poor and limited guidance through their journeys. I started hearing them say things like, “I wish someone had told me” and saw people suffering from treatable symptoms for years after birth only to be told this is “just part of parenthood” and other similar things. I also started seeing how basic education, support and empathy could remarkably improve birthing and postpartum outcomes. I love helping pregnant and birthing people navigate our medical system. I love helping them understand their choices. I love helping them see that they do not have to accept whatever they’re experiencing as their new normal.
What POV do you bring to your profession?
I love seeing the field of pelvic health grow and more voices popping up to help support this population. My practice and Instagram account both focus on providing a safe space for all birthing people to receive actionable information to help them through their pregnancy, birth and recovery. Our message intends to take concepts and experiences that may feel complicated or scary and help reframe them in order to empower people to have the pregnancy, birth and recovery that fits their lifestyle and their goals. We recognize that there is no “right” way to birth. That there is no “right” way to be pregnant or recover from childbirth. We aim to educate and provide information so everyone can make the right decision for themselves.
What do you find resonates best/most with your audience?
I find that people like information. They like to understand the why behind what they’re being told. We always try to break down the why behind whatever it is we’re offering or recommending.
When it comes to women’s health (and your specialty), where is there still “work to do”? Any myths to dispel? Misperceptions about treatments? Attitudes to change?
Oh wow. There are endless myths. There is endless work to do. Misconceptions are everywhere and there are so many attitudes to change. I won’t tackle them all in this answer, but one huge myth is that people don’t develop pelvic floor issues until after pregnancy. That is entirely false. We have middle school athletes experiencing urinary incontinence. Young people who are unable to insert tampons without severe pain. People of menstrual age experiencing horrible pain. Oftentimes when we see people during pregnancy, we find out they’ve had symptoms for years, far before pregnancy. We need to get better at helping people see that pelvic health care is for everyone, at all ages.
Additionally, a huge area for improvement I see is that pregnant people just need to wait until after birth to start addressing their concerns. We hear people being told that pain is a normal part of pregnancy and that it will just go away postpartum. That’s not always true. Addressing pain, leakage and symptoms as they arise during pregnancy is so important for birth and postpartum recovery. Additionally, many of these common postpartum symptoms are preventable. Pelvic floor physical therapy should be a standard of care for all pregnant people, even the ones feeling well.
What advice would you give to women reading this when it comes to taking charge of their health/wellness?
Do not accept the answer that whatever symptom you’re experiencing is just a normal part of pregnancy or aging. If you have access to pelvic floor physical therapy, have a wellness visit even if you are feeling well. This will allow you to understand where your pelvic health is, how it may change throughout your lifetime, and what to do if it does.
What’s the biggest “lesson learned” (personally or professionally) to come from living through a pandemic?
I’ve learned to slow down and that nights spent relaxing are equally as productive as nights out or working.
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