Pregnancy, Birth Preparation & Postnatal Recovery
Women's Health Physiotherapy supports females throughout their pregnancy journey, provides evidence-based Birth Preparation appointments and assessment for a safe postpartum recovery. Key areas we support ladies throughout this time include;
pain/discomfort during pregnancy
safe exercise during pregnancy
pelvic health screening and concerns
postnatal; pelvic floor, abdominal separation
postnatal; c-section recovery
common musculoskeletal concerns; pelvic girdle pain, wrist pain
Bump, Birth & Beyond at The Pelvic Health Physio
Join throughout any stage of pregnancy or postpartum period.
To start your journey from pregnancy to motherhood, Book an in-person Pelvic Health Physiotherapy assessment HERE.
Your Women's Physio will then provide recommendations as to which services you may benefit from and help devise a plan throughout your pregnancy that supports your physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Our Bump, Birth & Beyond Program can be joined at any stage of pregnancy or postpartum. We provide evidence-based education, Birth Preparation Workshops, Women's Health Physio and Women's Exercise tailored to you (Reformer Pilates & Yoga).
-Bump Physio Screen with Women's Physio
- Pregnancy Exercise Classes (Reformer Pilates & Prenatal Yoga)
Weeks 2-16 pp
Pelvic Floor & Abdominal recovery (Vaginal & caesarean delivery)
-Mums & Bubs Reformer & Yoga
Pregnancy and The Pelvic Floor
During pregnancy, the levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body increase significantly. These hormones play a vital role in preparing the body for childbirth by relaxing the muscles and ligaments in the pelvic area. This relaxation allows the baby to pass through the birth canal more easily. However, this same process can also put a woman at risk for pelvic floor disorders and changes in bladder/bowel function.
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that support the pelvic organs, including the bladder, uterus, and bowel. These muscles work together to keep these organs in place and prevent them from falling down into the vaginal area. When the muscles and ligaments in the pelvic area have more mobility during pregnancy, the pelvic organs may not be supported as well. Hence, pelvic concerns such as urinary incontinence, faecal incontinence and prolapse can be apparent during pregnancy. Whilst this can be common, please note this is not the “norm” and should be treated by a Women’s Health Physio in pregnancy to help minimise the risk of experiencing these symptoms postpartum.
To maintain pelvic floor health during pregnancy, it is important to maintain regular exercise and stay active. There is research to suggest that regular exercise can reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, hypertension and preeclampsia during pregnancy. Regular movement is also important for maintaining pelvic floor strength and also promoting good bowel movements.
Your Women's Health Physio will provide you with a thorough assessment of pelvic health and ensure that you are working within safe exercise guidelines for during pregnancy.
Birth Preparation - Couples Workshops
Another benefit of Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy during pregnancy is that it can help to prepare women for the different stages of labor. The pelvic floor muscles play an important role in acting as a "passage way" for the baby to move through the birth canal and out into the world. We have designed our "Birth Preparation" sessions with the highest level of evidence-based practice and research we now have in this area.
Your birth preparation session, will involve;
- a discussion around your ideal birth preferences
- a thorough history of your pelvic health
- an internal pelvic examination to complete specific measurements and identify any risk factors in relation to pelvic floor concerns
- education around labour, pain management and early postnatal recovery (for vaginal delivery or c-section)
- practical teaching of perineal massage (if appropriate/safe), breathwork and pelvic floor lengthening for vaginal deliveries
Overall, you will walk out from each session feeling informed and empowered. We work closely with your Obstetrician and Midwife and usually provide Birth education and practice over 2-3 sessions after 30 weeks. However, it is recommended to see a Pelvic Floor Physio earlier in pregnancy to screen for any pelvic floor concerns prior to labour preparation. Whether you decide on a vaginal delivery or c-section, or are unsure, our sessions are tailored to discuss you as an individual and only provide you with evidence-based education.
Postnatal Recovery & Safe return to exercise
Postnatal assessments are recommended between 3-4 weeks following a vaginal delivery, and 4-5 weeks following a c-section delivery. However, it is never too late to have a Pelvic Health and abdominal assessment after giving birth. The reason why we encourage early assessments is that research indicates the role a Pelvic Floor Physio can play in assisting recovery and also screening for any pelvic health concerns early on, to address.
Generally, the first few weeks after delivering will be a gentle recovery, however this can vary for each female so it is best to have a tailored assessments to determine what your recovery should entail. At 4-6 months, most of us will be able to return to slightly higher level of impact activity, however, prior to commencing this we need to ensure pelvic floor health is at the appropriate level to reduce the risk of any pelvic floor dysfunction occurring at a later date.
At our postnatal assessments with your Women's Health Physio, we will take you through a thorough pelvic floor examination to screen bladder, bowel function and risk of prolapse. We will also assess abdominal separation to gain an understanding as to how well the abdominal muscles are healing. The measures we go through will provide us with information as to how your body is overall recovering, and to determine what the safe load for daily living or exercise, should be based on your individual body. We cannot recommend enough seeing a Women's Health Professional prior to returning to exercise. We look forward to helping guide you through a safe recovery and working towards all of your health goals throughout this postpartum journey.