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How might a Physiotherapist who specialises in Women’s Health help you pre and postnatally?

I’ve had a few interactions in the Physiotherapy space lately with people who are or have been pregnant, where I’ve realised they don’t know what I do as a Physiotherapist who works in Women’s Health, and that I can actually help them with much more than they expected!

In the order of events you might experience symptoms, here is what you can get help for pre and/or postnatally.

1.Pelvic girdle pain

Any pain you are experiencing around your pelvis – new or old, front or back, deep or superficial, one sided or both sides, brought on by whatever it is that brings it on for you. There are ways to manage and reduce this sort of pain.

2. Checking the function of your pelvic floor and advice regarding preparing for a vaginal birth

It’s a good idea (after the first trimester) to check in and see how your pelvic floor is functioning, to prepare you as best we can for birth and beyond. There are also some things you can do in preparation for birth to minimise risks of tearing. It’s also not uncommon to start experiencing some urinary leakage during pregnancy which you should seek help for too.

3. Back and postural pain

As your centre of gravity changes and your body takes on more load, it’s not uncommon to experience different aches and pains.

4. Guidance with rectus abdominis diastasis (RAD)

RAD is essentially, abdominal separation. This is more common than not during pregnancy, and once you start experiencing the bulging at the centre of your abdominals, it’s time to change some of your habits and movements.

5. Guidance for exercise during pregnancy

It can be hard to know what is okay and not okay during pregnancy and sometimes you will have specific guidelines coming directly from your Obstetrician regarding exercise. It is a good idea to have guidance, and don’t be afraid to ask your Physiotherapist to be in direct contact with your Obstetrician – we are both part of your circle of trusted experts and should be in contact with each other!

6. Any postnatal neck/back pain

Sometimes the first thing people will come back to see me about postnatally is back and neck pain! It’s a huge change for the body to be feeding, holding and settling a baby, and sometimes the first priority to get relief for!

7. Mastitis

This is not uncommon if you are breastfeeding, and Physiotherapy can offer some really great help.

8. Pelvic floor check and guidance for safe return to exercise

This is really, really important even if you think you have recovered well with your pelvic floor. It’s often later on down the track that you may notice changes, and not in the early stages, which makes you think you are fine.

9. RAD check and guidance with exercise

There is some good evidence that certain exercises can help with facilitating the abdominals to knit neatly back together and help recover your core strength, and getting advice and a program is a good idea, especially in conjunction with pelvic floor recovery.

10. Guidance for return to exercise 

Whatever type of exercise you do, it’s a good idea to get some advice from a Physiotherapist in Women’s Health. Your Physiotherapist will have a good idea of whether your pelvic floor, abdominals, pelvis and overall body are ready for the type of exercise you want to return to.

Was this more than what you expected? Even if you are experiencing something that hasn’t been covered on this list, as part of your health care team, a Physiotherapist in Women’s Health should be able to guide you to the right place for answers!

Lauren Osborne


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