We believe all pregnant women should be in touch with a pelvic health physiotherapist during the course of their pregnancy and beyond. Regardless of the type of pregnancy and the type of delivery, the body changes so much and we can support these transformations, maximise recovery and enable the best individual outcomes possible.
Pelvic Girdle Pain, back or neck discomfort
Along with growing a baby comes many physical changes to your own body. Tension can arise in many areas that are supporting the growing belly and these can be addressed to alleviate discomfort and strengthen the body. After the baby is born there are also new demands on a healing body and discomfort can arise from feeding positions, lifting and the physical demands of caring for a child.
Abdominal muscle issues (Diastasis Recti or DRAM)
The risk factors for abdominal muscle issues tend to be somewhat out of our control during pregnancy. They may include increased weight, carrying twins, the size of the baby, the size of the pregnant abdomen and perhaps a genetic predisposition. We know that exercise during pregnancy will help recovery, as strong muscles tend to have better healing results.
In the post-natal period having a detailed assessment and possibly discovering the level of DRAM is important as is may direct you to certain support garments or exercises that may be best for the individual.
Breastfeeding – engorgement, mastitis and blocked ducts
Physiotherapists are equipped with the knowledge of feeding, anatomy of breast tissue and have wonderful experience in tissue healing and recovery. Like any area of the body a diagnosis is key and the right treatment can be given to help alleviate symptoms and facilitate tissue healing. Sometimes therapeutic ultrasound is used, massage techniques, garment advice and most importantly education about your condition and support for your individual journey.
Exercise during pregnancy guidelines released from The Royal Australian and New Zealand Collage of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists are a great starting point. https://ranzcog.edu.au/RANZCOG_SITE/media/RANZCOG-MEDIA/Women%27s%20Health/Patient%20information/Exercise-during-pregnancy-pamphlet.pdf?ext=.pdf
Provided the exercise is comfortable or with modifications during pregnancy you should keep exercising as frequently as 5 days per week, as per the guidelines. If however there is some discomfort a pelvic health physio can assess the condition and get you moving with the appropriate exercise as soon as possible.
Immediately post-natal returning to exercise will start slowly with pelvic floor recovery and body stretches. Establishing rest to allow for recovery and then being cautious and starting gentle exercise as your body allows is the best way to resume. The body has gone through a big change, and it will return to where it needs to be in an appropriate time frame. Your pelvic health physiotherapist has expertise in giving individual guidance and judge which and what sort of exercise may be appropriate for your stage of recovery.
Birth preparation and education
We know that each person has a different birth experience and if you would like specific guidance on what may be best for your body then a pelvic health physiotherapist can help. Perhaps you have discomfort in some positions and would like to learn what you can do during labour, or you would like to gain some confidence and education about delivery and your pelvic floor.
Healing and recovery post delivery
Many women will attend anti natal classes and learn about bladder and pelvic floor control, this is a wonderful starting point on the road to recovery and healing. Delivery is different for everyone and may involve tearing, episiotomy, stretching or a c-section wound. These tissues can become bothersome and may need some treatment to allow them to be functional and fully recover. Vanessa dreams of a time when all women in Australia would be seen by a pelvic health physiotherapist regardless of their delivery after birth and at 6 weeks post-natal. So if you are concerned about something, or would just like a check of how your recovery is progressing, she would love to see you.