Pregnancy and The Pelvic Floor
During pregnancy, there are many physical, hormonal and emotional changes which occur during pregnancy. The oestrogen and progesterone 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 of concerns during pregnancy, such as; pelvic floor disorders, changes in bladder/bowel function and pelvic pain. To maintain pelvic floor health during pregnancy, it is important to maintain regular exercise inline with the Pregnancy exercise Guidelines, to not only help support your pelvic health, but also your emotional and mental wellbeing, whilst your body changes. 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.
Our clinic has a variety of services to support your needs during pregnancy. Staring with a pelvic health assessment to ensure medically and (pelvic health) which exercise will be most appropriate for your individual needs. We offer tailored Group classes for Pilates Reformer (run by an Exercise Physiologist) and Prenatal Yoga (run by an experienced Womens trained Yoga Instructor).
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 labour. 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 field of Women's Health.
Your Birth Preparation (Individual or Couples) 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.
We now offer Prenatal Yoga to help support movement and exercises to open your pelvis as we near your due date. Prenatal Yoga compliments the sessions run with your Pelvic Health Physio preparation at the clinic.
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, to ensure that you are looking after your Pelvic Health in the long run!
Our clinic offers a range of fun Mums & Bubs Reformer and Yoga Stretch classes to connect with other mumma's and supporting your recovery.
We look forward to helping guide you through a safe recovery and working towards all of your health goals throughout this postpartum journey.
Feel free to share this post with a friend or family member who may be currently pregnant, or postpartum... it is never too late to look after your pelvic health with evidence-based Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy. Our team of Women's Health Professionals is here to help!