Your body after birth – What’s normal and what’s not!

 

After giving birth, there tends to be a huge shift in focus from caring for mum & baby through the antenatal journey to caring for & cuddling a new born baby.

Mum can suddenly find herself at the bottom of the pile, the mum guilt sets in, money is prioritised for baby. We often hear sure ‘I’ll sort that later when I have time or when it becomes a bigger problem', 'i'm too busy to get checked.'

 

But now many of you realise the importance of self care? How many of you realise the importance of getting assessed by a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist (PHP) post delivery? And how many of you will actually make it a priority & attend?

 

Most women are surprised to learn that such a therapist exists and plays such a crucial role in the ante and postnatal journeys. Many new mums also believe they only need to see a PHP if they have actual issues or symptoms i.e. leakage! This is a big misconception - even if you do not have 'actual symptoms' chances are your pelvic floor and surrounding muscles, ligaments & fascia are extremely weak after carrying a baby for 9 months and then delivering it via vaginal or c-section route. And having a c-section does not mean you are exempt! 

 

A PHP has advanced training in the assessment and treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction. Working alongside a PHP can empower women to participate in a quality self-care programme that supports and promotes optimal healing and recovery in the initial phases of postpartum recovery and beyond. Whether your are 6 months or 16 years postpartum you can still benefit from working with a PHP - remember 'Once Postpartum Always Postpartum.'

 

So what do we consider as Pelvic Floor Dysfunction –

 

Do you…..

1.    Have pain in your pelvic region during any activity or during intercourse?

2.    Do you ever experience any urinary or bowel leakage? Or fear you might leak?

3.    Leak when you laugh, cough, sneeze, run, jump, vomit, lift?

4.    Ever have to rush  to the toilet or are you ever caught ‘short?’

5.    Feel any heaviness or pressure in your vagina / or can you feel or see any bulges in the vaginal or rectal areas?

6.    Struggle to empty your bladder or bowel? i.e. incomplete emptying, constipation, straining, have to support manually with your finger. 

7.    Have a new or old scar (c/section / episiotomy / vaginal tear) that causes you pain or pulling sensations?

8.    Have or suspect you might have Diastasis Recti? (tummy muscles dome up or collapse into the midline of your tummy area)

9.    Just ‘feel weak’ in your pelvic floor region / just feel 'different' or that 'something isn't right'

 

During pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period your body experiences significant amounts of hormonal, physical and emotional stress.

If you answered yes to any of the above questions this may indicate that you have pelvic floor muscle dysfunction and  that you would benefit from a one to one assessment with a PHP.

PHP’s want to help identify and alleviate symptoms before they become bigger issues and are much more difficult to address.

We have all seen the TENA and Always TV ads…..putting a pad on or inserting a pessary aid to stop or minimise leakage while exercising can be a great management strategy and adjunct but these are not a cure by any means!

 

Do not be fooled by the many 'insta or facebook influencers' out there either!

As PHP's we are firm believers in getting to the 'root of the problem/s' and not just 'covering them up.' You deserve better! We assess and identify . the origin of dysfunction and guide you on the most optimal rehab and management strategies.

 

Remember you should never have to ‘put up with symptoms.’ They are ‘common but not normal.’

 

It is essential to remember that postpartum recovery is more than just doing your ‘kegels’ or ‘pelvic floor squeezes’ A PHP will assess and tailor your rehab which should include a variety of strategies. They will look at bladder & bowel health, lifestyle, nutrition, family support, breathing, alignment, manual therapy (internal and external)  and exercise therapy. A treatment plan will be developed to facilitate recovery that is 'specific to you as an individual' and your demands and interests. PHP’s aim to optimise your recovery and overall functional ability without compromising the pelvic floor and supporting structures.

 

Please do not ignore symptoms as they are telling you something is not happy.

Prioritise your own physical and emotional wellbeing and enjoy motherhood in a positive and joyful way.

 

If you suspect you have any symptoms or have further questions please seek assessment with your local Pelvic Health Physiotherapist.

 

At 360 Health Physiotherapy and Pilates Clinic we have Christen O'Neill who runs the Pelvic Health Matters clinic - please do not hesitate to contact her if you have any further questions or would like to arrange an appointment.

https://www.360healthni.co.uk/ 

028 92 660620 

 

We you live further a field check out the NHS Squeezy App for Pelvic Health Physiotherapists based within your region. 

https://www.squeezyapp.com/directory/