Pregnancy and new parenthood can be a beautiful period. But it’s also a time of immense changes to our bodies, lifestyle, identities, and emotional health. Many women experience pains and discomforts related to pregnancy or postpartum recovery. And yet, there’s little discussion about it. So many women don’t know how to find the resources or treatment they need and deserve.
Enter Isabel Hartounian, an occupational therapist who founded Thrive Maternal Care. She’s on a mission to meet moms where they are and help them towards smoother functioning in their daily lives.
Please tell us about yourself/your business and what you do.
I am a mom of two kids, born and raised in the Bay Area, and a licensed occupational therapist (OT) of 14 years. After my own experiences, I realized there are various challenges moms face everyday whether pregnant or after baby.
What inspired you to get into this work?
My background was in pediatrics so I listened to a lot of moms' experiences. After my second baby, I was dealing with pelvic pain and incontinence, so I asked my doctor for a referral to a pelvic floor therapist. I was inspired by how it helped me and pivoted my career by diving into all things pelvic and maternal health.
What are the main reasons or areas of concern that lead families to seek out your services? What are your key resources and offerings to help address these needs?
Many moms don’t receive guidance on how their body mechanics change as their belly grows in pregnancy or how to deal with issues that arise in postpartum.
One main concern in pregnancy is dealing with aches and pains, especially in the lower back, groin, and pubic bone area. Then in postpartum, moms get one 6-week checkup and are cleared for intimacy and returning to fitness. But they are often still healing from tearing or a Cesarean birth, learning the ropes of being a mom, and coming to terms with a new role and routines in their daily life.
My vision is to help moms to function in a way that feels better for them– where they feel like they understand their symptoms or challenges, have tools, and gain a new perspective. I believe all birthing people should have their pelvic health evaluated during and after pregnancy, and be given education to help themselves. At the same time, I think how we manage our expectations and give ourselves compassion as we become parents is huge.
What's one tidbit of helpful information or encouragement that you'd want all families to know?
I know there are some discomforts and challenges we cope with and live with as moms, but I also know you don't have to live with them forever. This can mean within our bodies (ex. leaking, pelvic and other related pains) or within our minds (ex. emotional overwhelm in parenting, not feeling bonded with baby). Of course, the mind and body are always connected so I like to take a full, holistic approach without adding more burden to the mom's plate.
It is never too late for someone to get pelvic floor OT/PT. Realistically, the most optimal time to be seen is when you feel you need help with managing pain, leakage, navigating returning to fitness, managing overwhelm, adjusting to motherhood and so on. You can be pregnant, 6 weeks postpartum or 10 years postpartum.
But it’s been my experience that some moms have a hard time assessing when they need extra support or have a hard time asking for that help. I have a checklist I like to share to know when it might benefit you to go to pelvic floor therapy.
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Where are you located? What area(s) do you serve?
I am in San Jose and serve moms within a 30 minute radius which includes, but is not limited to Campbell, Santa Clara, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, and the surrounding areas.
What's the best contact for people to reach out for further information or questions?
I encourage moms to schedule a free, 15 minute phone consultation with me to see how I can help. You can also find more information on my website and I am on Instagram.