Protect your pelvic floor, abdominals and back during pregnancy, childbirth and beyond. Make sure that you are in the best possible state to cope with the demands of pregnancy, labour and delivery.
Pelvic floor physiotherapists have unique skills and expertise in the prevention and treatment of pelvic floor problems resulting from pregnancy and childbirth. And even if you had your baby some time ago – it’s never too late to seek help!
We recommend our Pregnancy Warrant of Fitness check (an assessment) at around 20 weeks – or earlier if there are problems. (We will also see you later in your pregnancy if you haven’t managed to get here yet). We check your pelvic floor muscles and teach you how to activate them correctly. If the muscles are weak we’ll give you a customised exercise programme to build up strength and endurance, and teach you how to use the muscles functionally. Strong, functional and coordinated pelvic floor muscles are more robust and less likely to be damaged during delivery.
More than 60% of women experience leakage of urine during pregnancy – it is a common problem, but you don’t need to put up with it! Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can fix the problem. Furthermore, women who leak urine while they are pregnant are more likely to leak after the baby is born – so don’t wait, get help. Nobody wants wet pants.
During labour the pelvic floor muscles have a remarkable ability to stretch to almost three times their normal length. This is amazing! There are no other muscles in the body capable of this. There are recent studies however, showing that some women actually tighten instead of relaxing their pelvic floor when they “push”. This can cause a longer labour, which then increases the likelihood of trauma to the pelvic floor muscles. Damaged or weakened pelvic floor muscles can result in urinary leakage, prolapse or loss of bowel control any time from the early postnatal period to much later on in life. By doing a check at around 20 weeks, an experienced pelvic floor physiotherapist will be able to determine whether or not your muscles are coordinated in the right way and relax correctly. If there is a problem, you can be taught how to correct this, and in so doing, you lessen the likelihood of pelvic floor damage during childbirth.
Other parts of our Pregnancy WOF include:
- advice on appropriate pelvic floor safe exercise during pregnancy
- discussion of recommended exercise guidelines for pregnant women
- perineal massage techniques
- back care and safe movement advice for pregnancy – to treat / prevent back and pelvic pain
- postural and movement advice to help prevent tummy separation
- education on care and protection of the pelvic floor during the early postnatal period
- advice on when to restart pelvic floor exercises and how to progress back to general exercise – including team sport and running or other high impact activities
We also provide treatment for any back or neck pain, pelvic pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and any other musculoskeletal symptoms – during or after pregnancy.
We will advise on when to see us again after the birth for a Postnatal WOF (usually six weeks or longer following the birth). At this time we check:
- pelvic floor muscles – assessing for damage and checking strength
- abdominals – checking for weakness and diastasis (tummy gap)
- posture and general strength – particularly around the core – to enable safe return to exercise
We will be able to give you the right rehabilitation and exercise advice to ensure that you are prepared for the demands of motherhood – without having to worry about issues such as pelvic floor problems or back pain. Activities such as lifting baby (and often your older ones still like being carried!), moving car seats and manoeuvring buggies will all put extra pressure on your back and pelvic floor. We are here to help you so that you don’t compromise your pelvic floor when it is vulnerable after childbirth.
All the advice and education we give can also be provided via an online appointment if you are unable to come in or would prefer not to during the COVID-19 pandemic.