Pregnancy is one of the most exciting times of your life, but it does come with a lot of changes. During 9 months your body is experiencing constant hormone surges, increased weight gain, postural changes leading to aches and pains and maybe even some bladder leakage. It’s probably the first time in your life where you’ll hear the word ‘Pelvic Floor’ or actually start to take notice of it. Seeing a Women’s Health Physiotherapist can help you nurture, connect and prepare your pelvic floor.
1. WE CAN HELP YOU IDENTIFY, NURTURE & STRENGTHEN YOUR PELVIC FLOOR:
The weight of your baby is placing more and more pressure on your bladder, bowel and pelvic floor, it's equivalent to a 100kg man standing on a trampoline. Most women don’t even know the location of their pelvic floor let alone how to contract it correctly. Research suggests that up to 60% of women with pelvic floor dysfunction (such as prolapse or stress urinary incontinence) incorrectly contract their PFM when verbally cued (Thompson & O’Sullivan, 2003). Amongst women with no dysfunction, most are able to correctly contract their PFMs (Henderson et al, 2013), but if you’re not sure, your pelvic physio will be able to check your technique using real-time ultrasound, or via vaginal examination if this is
appropriate for you.
2. WE CAN HELP PREVENT LEAKAGE DURING & AFTER PREGNANCY:
There is some evidence that women, who do not have existing issues with leakage, who do PFM training in pregnancy reduce their risk of urinary incontinence in later pregnancy by 62%, and reduce their risk of urinary incontinence at 3-6 months postnatal by 29% compared to women who do not do PFM training in pregnancy (Woodley et al, 2020).
3. WE CAN HELP PREPARE YOU FOR BIRTH:
During labour we need to be able to relax
our pelvic floor muscles to allow the baby to descend down and be delivered. Our pelvic floor muscles need to be able to stretch 1.5-3x its original size. We can help you understand and provide you with tips and positions to best help with this. You may also have an overactive ‘tight’ pelvic floor, which can lead to higher risk and chances of an episiotomy or 3-4 degree tears.
4. HEALTHY PELVIC FLOOR BEFORE BIRTH = FASTER & BETTER RECOVERY AFTER.
If you have a good strong muscle with lots of nerve endings and a good blood supply that knows what it’s doing before it goes through the hardest job of its life, it’ll come out the other side looking, feeling and working better.
5. WE CAN HELP SPEED UP YOUR RECOVERY, & GET YOU BACK TO EXERCISE QUICKER:
We recommend seeing a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist 6week postpartum. This allows us to assess your pelvic floor tone, strength, scar formation, healing, prolapse and whether you are ‘actually’ contracting your pelvic floor. Because you’ve just birthed a baby you may be feeling a little different down there and may not be actually contracting your pelvic floor muscles which can cause more damage in the long term.
6. WE WILL HELP MANAGE YOUR ABDOMINAL SEPARATION:
During your third trimester 100% of all women will experience separation. This is due to hormonal changes causing your tissues to stretch to accommodate your growing baby. It’s important that we retrain and recruit the right muscles post baby to help bring that separation back together.
7. WE CAN HELP REDUCE YOUR CHANGES OF PROLAPSE, PELVIC FLOOR DYSFUNCTION, LEAKAGE AND SEXUAL PAIN POST BIRTH.
These conditions are all super common after pregnancy and childbirth however they are NOT normal. It’s important to remember that just because you have had a baby doesn’t mean we should suffer with these conditions. We can help get you back to feeling you again and reduce the chances of these occurring.