In our continuing series with Soul Sister Health - All About Mum, Anna and Em take us through the importance of seeing a Women's Pelvic Heath Physio. The SSH girls are passionate about women's health, drawing on their experiences as mothers as well as their studies in Exercise Physiology and Personal Training.
Hey mumma, have you had a baby? Do you experience issues physically that you didn't before you became pregnant? Do you occasionally pee yourself? Do you experience niggling back pain? Do you feel achy in your pelvis at times? Do you experience these things and simply pass them off as your "new normal" because you had a baby? Well you shouldn't and here's why...
First up! Let's run through the standard of health care during pregnancy and post birth.
For an uncomplicated pregnancy, you will generally have two scans to check on bub's development, you will see your DR or OBGY as often as advised and then you give birth. Post birth (provided there were no issues or complaictions) you leave hospital after a few days, you have one or two midwife home visits (if you're lucky!) and a 6 week check with your OBGY. During these visits and checks, your OBGY or midwife is generally only concerned with your baby's health, how you are managing to breast and/or bottle feed, ensuring your post birth stitches are healing well and that there is no major bleeding. You are then sent on your merry way with no further follow up.
So how is your pelvic health? Are you experiencing any incontinence? Do you have ongoing lower back, hip or pelvic girdle pain? Do you have a diastisis recti (i.e. unresolved abdominal separation)? Are you constipated? Do you generally just feel very weakened and unstable through your tummy, core and pelvis?
These are just some of the questions that should be asked as standard protocol through preganancy and into post partum recovery, but often are NOT. They then need to be followed up with action and/or examination, because sometimes even we don't know the answer! Particularly when it come to your internal pelvic health.... enter your local Women's Health Physio.
What is a Women's (Pelvic) Health Physio and What Do They Do?
WHP's are trained in musculosketetal issues (specificially pelvic floor and core system issues and pain) associated with:
While we do encourage women to be proactive and make an appointment to see a physio during pregnancy, we know that most women are more likely to go post birth (unless they are in their 2nd or 3rd pregnancy and are much more aware of the benefits!).
What happens during these consultations?
During your intial consultation your physio will ask all the right questions (as above!) and your assessment will involve (but won't necessarily be limited to):
pelvic floor assessment and rehabilitation
episiotomy/tearing scar management
c-section scar management
muscular pains and discomfort
core rehabilitation strategies
gudiance for returning to exercise
sex after pregnancy.
Comprehenisve, right? Now we get that this might all sound a tad overwhelming and we have actually had clients say to us "but I would just rather not know". While we cringe at these types of comments, we also understand this attitude. As women we have really just been told to deal with this post baby stuff and we have done so mostly in silence. We have been influenced to believe that all of these symptoms and issues are now just a "normal" part of our lives and so we keep it secret and, in some cases, we feel too ashamed to speak up. There is also an element of fear for a lot of women - fear of what they might find out and what they might have to deal with going forward.
Here is the reality: chances are things will be totally fine or require very little ongoing treatment or therapy. And if your diagnosis is a little more serious, then haven't you done the right thing? You are now in the right place where you will be given all the tools, knowledge, strategies and support to deal with the future. The issue is, the longer you leave it and disregard the need for any type of physiotherapy or rehab, the worse it might become.
It is human nature to pretend like everything is fine, right? Well, that is until it's not. Unfortunately, we are now seeing a generation of women who did not have access to the same advice and information as we do and who are experiencing (in some cases) horrendous post-partum complications and failing surgeries only now in their 50s, 60s and 70s. No doubt they thought they were fine too or even worse, ignored the symptoms out of shame, embarrassment or judgement.
Your 'new normal' is no longer acceptable and we are here to encourage you do something about it!
If you are keen to get on top of your post baby health the right way, book in to see your Women’s Health Physio now! Click HERE to find a physio local to your area. Otherwise, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org as we are so happy to help, provide advice where we can and guidance around who you might be local to you.
Anna & Em xx
If you want to know more around what you can be doing to protect yourself and your body during pregnancy and the post partum period? Then download a FREE copy of our comprehensive Pre + Post Natal Exercise Guidelines or our 5 Top Tips to Safe Return to Exercise Guide.