- Sami Cattach
The Vital Role Of Women's Health Physio for Pregnancy and Birth
Updated: Dec 17, 2019
Learn why it's essential for every mum-to-be to see a women's health physio during pregnancy!
Here at Body and Birth Physiotherapy, we see women throughout all stages of pregnancy, from preconception to immediately postpartum and beyond. For us, it is an honour to be involved during this very special time - but is seeing a Women’s Health Physiotherapist something that everyone should consider? Absolutely, YES! And here’s why…
Pregnancy can be an overwhelming process both mentally and physically and with so much information out there it’s hard to know what’s good and what’s bad; from the moment you find out you are pregnant to bringing baby home, there are so many things to get your head around. Whether you have specific questions or just want answers in general, seeing a Women’s Health Physiotherapist throughout your journey can be of huge benefit to your body physically, but also mentally beneficial and empowering.
Every woman’s journey is different, and every journey will come with different questions and moments - so we’ve crafted the below questions you can ask yourself to let you know when it might be a good time to pop in to get some answers:
I would love to have a baby soon, I just have a few questions first...
Many women prior to conceiving have questions, queries or concerns about exercise and movement, bladder and bowels, pelvic floor and the many changes that may occur in your body when you find out you’re pregnant. As physiotherapists, muscles and movement is our thing and as Pelvic Floor Physiotherapists, teaching you how to use your muscles to best prepare you for pregnancy, keeping you pain free, and facilitate pain-free intercourse is our focus.
During this time, we can assist you with any questions you may have to make this part of the journey as enjoyable, beneficial, and stress free as possible.
Congratulations, you’re pregnant!
Amazing! We’re overjoyed for you. How exciting the next phase in your life will be!
Now here’s some internet articles, a few books from your friend, your medical plan from your obstetrician or midwife, ‘the best pants ever’ from your cousin and don’t forget the tip about pear juice from your mum.
With all of this circling through your mind, this initial stage of pregnancy can be both incredibly exciting as well as incredibly confusing. For many of our mamas to be, their journey will start here so we can help to clear up the confusion and best prepare you for the next stage in your journey.
Often we answer the big question at this stage “is this normal for my body?”
Want to prepare your body for pregnancy and birth? Check out our Prenatal BABEs online program here!
What about the next nine months?
The human body is incredible and the changes that the female body goes through during pregnancy are truly amazing. However, even the most knowledgeable mums-to-be can find it a bit confusing and can run into challenges along the way (for more great info you can check out blogs on Sami’s Pregnancy Journey or About Knowing Your Options for Pregnancy Care)
So what can we help you with over the next nine months? Here are some common conditions and questions that we see mamas-to-be for while pregnant.
Pelvic Floor: What on earth is my pelvic floor and what is a Kegel? Why do I need to know this? Is my pelvic floor functioning well and why is this important? Currently, there are so many resources with so many different ideas surrounding pelvic floor exercises or Kegel’s. All of which can make life very confusing. As PF PT’s we can check whether pelvic floor exercises are something that you could consider, whether there is perhaps some tension there instead, or if you don’t need to include these in your plan at all! You might like to read more about Kegel’s here.
Prevention: How can I reduce the risk of pelvic floor and core issues during and after pregnancy? What can I do in my everyday life to help with this? Is it even possible? You bet it is! We provide insight on the common conditions associated with pregnancy and give you practical strategies, movements, and exercises to help you keep your pelvic floor and core health on point for the long term!
Rectus Diastasis (tummy separation): You may have heard the abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy to accommodate a growing baby, but how does it work? Do I have one? How can I start working on the recovery even prior to delivery? Very common and always covered during our prenatal sessions.
Incontinence: Perhaps you're experiencing some leaking or you've heard that new mums often encounter this issue - but why does it happen and can it be prevented? We'll look at several of the more common pelvic floor issues that you could encounter including incontinence and prolapse.
Sex: Is it safe? Encouraged? What if it's painful? We'll talk about sex during different stages of pregnancy and postpartum, when it is safe to enjoy and when it's actually encouraged.
Pain: Contrary to popular belief, pain during pregnancy is not just par for the course. If you experience pain in the pelvis (front or back!), back or hips, you do not have to just ‘put up with it because you’re pregnant’. Pelvic girdle pain is a common occurrence during pregnancy and can be significantly reduced with physiotherapy. Although it is true that most of the pain should subside post delivery, there are many different strategies we can put in place to enable you have the most comfortable ride during pregnancy without giving up the things you love like movement and exercise. Speaking of which...
Exercise and Movement!: For many women, exercise is a huge part of their daily life and is so important for both the physical and mental health of the soon to be mama and those around them. As Physiotherapist’s we believe that movement, in whichever form suits you best, should be able to be implemented into your daily routine. As Pelvic Floor Physiotherapists, we would love to help you do this to achieve the benefits of exercise not just for your general health but your pelvic floor health too. There can be a lot of uncertainty surrounding exercise during your pregnancy too - how much is too much, can I keep running, should I just do yoga? What is safe? These are some of the common questions we get asked and if exercise is on your mind then please come see us today, we are highly experienced in providing guidance and programs that are safe during pregnancy.
But what would a prenatal appointment look like?
Not sure what to expect at your first prenatal appointment? Well you're in for a treat!
In addition to what is listed in the above, you can check out what to expect at our prenatal appointments here!
Oh my god, I think I’m in labour.
The time has come... how do I do this?? With so many movies, books, television programs and even Apps describing the ‘perfect birth experience’ and how you can achieve it, knowing what to do and how to do it when the time comes can be downright confusing.
In the lead up to delivery, your physiotherapist will be able to discuss with you options and answer any last burning questions surrounding labour, birth and everything that goes with it. Some common discussion points include perineal massage and labour prep, pain relief, labour and birth positions, your birth plan, and what happens if you need to take a detour.
Hooray! The baby’s here!! Now what do I do?
Awesome! You did it, the baby has arrived and sleeping blissfully in your arms…(wishful thinking perhaps) ;).
What to do now? Often post delivery there are one million and one things on a new mums mind. Midwives, obstetricians, family, friends, neighbours, the lady on the other side of the curtain - everyone is popping in and out to check on you, bub, and how you’re both sleeping, feeding, toileting, showering, moving and the list goes on.
Fortunately, many women are now being visited by a physiotherapist on the ward who will also give some brief advice about what to do from here. However, having the knowledge about how to move best, facilitate pelvic floor recovery, and hold your new bub with the best alignment prior to delivery can be very empowering and mean there is one less thing to think about at the time.
During our final session prior to delivery, we like to touch on these things to make sure you feel ready for not only what goes on during labour but from labour and beyond!
So! In our opinion, every pregnant women should see a pelvic floor physiotherapist, simply because - from beginning to end we’ve got you covered! It’s a hugely beneficial part of your pregnancy care plan; we can provide insight, answer your burning questions, relieve pain and stress, let you know what is safe and normal for your body during pregnancy and what isn't, and help you prepare for the big moment that is birth.
Our goal is for you to have the pregnancy and recovery you deserve so you can focus on the joys of early motherhood.
Stay tuned for part 2 on why you should see a women's health physio during your postpartum recovery and how we can help.
Thanks for reading!
If you're looking for a women's health and pregnancy physio in Brisbane you can book online with us right here!
Had a great experience with a Women's Health Physio during pregnancy? Questions or comments? Please let us know below or connect with us on Social Media.