Prenatal and Postnatal Care
Pregnancy and birthing have a major impact on a woman’s body in many ways. The weight of a growing foetus on your pelvic floor can be massive – it has been likened to a 100kg weight sitting on a trampoline over a period of months! Preparation for a birth and getting through a pregnancy can benefit from the specialised input from a physiotherapist. Just as important is after all types of births (caesarean, instrumental or normal vaginal) to assess the degree of pelvic floor change post birth and to get an individualised plan for return to exercise and being ready for the demands of motherhood.
Pregnancy is a volatile and rewarding period in a woman’s life and each pregnancy has its own challenges. The body undergoes extensive physical changes to posture, softening of connective tissue and widening of the rib cage, lengthening of the abdominal muscles and a change in position of both the pelvic floor and pelvic organs. These changes affect all kinds of things and women can often develop aches and pains through the spine, ribcage, and hands. We can also have changes in the way our digestive and urinary system function causing constipation, incontinence and some heaviness around the vagina. Sounds hard!?
Thankfully, a physiotherapist can provide prenatal care by guiding a woman through the massive changes that happen both within the body and on the surface. As part of our prenatal care services, we can assist with decision making about your body during a pregnancy and birth, help you to become empowered in looking after your pelvic floor and enable you to have the most up to date evidence about your journey to motherhood.
We encourage a consultation with a women’s wellness physiotherapist with specific maternity training from six weeks postnatal after each and every birth (although we are happy to do it later on too).
In the one hour 1:1 postnatal care session, we will assess the strength of your pelvic floor and teach you how best to activate these very important muscles. We can also discuss with you any issues you may be experiencing around incontinence, perineal tearing, muscle avulsions and reduced sensations. We can also grade any prolapse and support you through the management of this whilst measuring any separation of the abdominal muscles.
We can also discuss and guide you through some of the challenges of feeding, bathing and holding a newborn. For some women getting back to the exercise they love is a priority and we will use our advanced training (and own experience!) to get you back to running, cross fit, pilates and everything in between in a safe and timely manner.
If you have had a Caesarean birth we will check the strength through the abdominal musculature and guide you how to safely increase how much you can lift. We can also guide you on scar massage and mobilisation.
We know it can be hard to look after yourself when you are tired, busy and juggling life at home but doing this health check early will help you in the months and years ahead.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us and we can guide you as to what will be involved.
Getting to the physio with a newborn
We understand that getting away from home to see a physio with a newborn baby may provide some logistical challenges for many, if not all new mothers. So be comforted in knowing that we can get a start on your assessment and postnatal management remotely via telehealth.
Zoom, Skype, FaceTime- whichever medium best suits. We can learn a lot from the history that you tell us, describing symptoms, the details of your birth and your background and we will be able to provide advice that you can enact immediately from home.
We utilise some great software that can guide you through some basic exercises, with clear, easy to follow instructions and videos.
If we are alerted to any further concerns that need immediate attention we will inform you. There are certain conditions that will do best, dealt with in a fast manner, and there are other conditions that can wait a little longer for a time that is more accessible for you and your baby.
If you are able to come in – please feel free to bring your new bub! We know they aren’t predictable and we are here with all kinds of tricks to settle them whilst we talk about your recovery and progress.
Exercise during and after pregnancy
Every pregnancy is different, and some are more complicated than others. For some people it will be a difficult and long journey towards motherhood and there is a degree of anxiety around introducing exercise. For others it’s more about learning the limitations that may exist in a pregnancy to minimise the risk of complications from heavy exercise. Being assessed and discussing with your midwife or obstetrician is an important step but having guidance to actually get moving is where the women’s health physiotherapist with advanced exercise training is essential if you are a ‘high risk pregnancy’.
At Evoker, our women’s health physiotherapists also teach ‘clever core’ sessions with pregnancy and postnatal specific modifications to ensure you are still able to reach your potential as your body is changing. We can also guide you on what you can do outside of the studio to prepare you for the big changes that motherhood will require – lifting, bending and feeding.
Exercise post pregnancy:
We love exercise and we know that it’s so important for every woman to feel comfortable doing the exercise they know and love even if they have pelvic floor symptoms. We understand that each sport will have different demands on the body and pelvic floor and will require individualised assessment and treatment to allow you to reach your goals. Our advanced training allows us to treat a wide range of clients:
- Postnatal HiiT training and running
- High level athletes who have leakage during gymnastics or cross fit style exercise that may then start to bother them with normal life too
- Women who are struggling with dragging back pain during pilates or yoga
- High risk pregnancies where exercise needs to be carefully prescribed and monitored
- Women with ongoing abdominal separation, hernias, prolapse, or pelvic floor issues.