Let’s talk about post birth…
Post natal care is my super passion!
Improving post natal care in the UK is my SUPER PASSION because the aftercare I received myself in 2017 was below par by a long shot!
We are so often focussed on our new arrival post-birth that “we” are forgotten about or pushed to the bottom of our everlasting ‘to-do’ list.
However, #mumsmatter and we have a lot of needs and many challenges that need addressing after growing and carrying a tiny human for potentially 9-10 months.
Why we need to do better with post birth care for everyone
Streamlining post natal care for everyone
Why it’s important to see a pelvic health physio post birth
How to tone your tummy without going to the gym
Returning to exercise: is your pelvic floor ready to run
How to modify your exercises post pregnancy and/or birth
Diastasis recti (TUMMY MUSCLE SEPARATION) and how to check your own tummy muscles
Why strengthening our bottom muscles are so important
Exercise videos for you to try if you have no medical complications
A huge resource section
Why we need to do better
In 2018 I wrote a petition to parliament asking for the UK government to “provide women’s health physio to all post natal women for pelvic health advice”.
It gathered almost 5500 signatures over six months and people reacted to the need for such a service throughout the whole of the UK.
Work done so far…
Postnatal pelvic health triage is needed
I presented my findings and entered them into the POGP (Pelvic, Obstetric and Gynaecology Physiotherapy) poster competition in 2020 and they were published in their spring 2021 journal.
I was honoured to be asked to speak at the first ever pelvic roar virtual conference in January 2021 and I presented my survey findings there with great success and feedback.
In a nutshell, there are far too many births per women’s health physio’s at present which means that not every person post birth could be seen. Alongside the pelvic roar team, I devised a pelvic screen health questionnaire for all women to complete at 6-8 weeks post birth.
It is recognised that not everybody post birth will need a women’s health physio input, yet, and so this enables everyone to be screened and then triaged on to follow up care, in theory.
At present in England, a new front care practitioner role of a women’s health physio and a midwife specialising in post natal care are being trialled at some GP practises. It is with hope that our screening tool can be piloted to help gather information and data to truly identify the real statistics around pelvic health post birth.
Once we have more data, we can do more research to help increase the number of women’s health physio’s available and thus be able to reach more women who would benefit from our care.
Given the current situation with Covid -19 please feel free to take a look at the pelvic health screening tool we created.
IF you answer YES to any of the questions, please do seek help via your GP or a women’s health physiotherapist.
To find a Women’s health physio please take a look here
Feel free to take this questionnaire with you to help start the conversation with your GP/Physio.
Do I need to see a women’s health physio post birth?
Why would I need to see a women’s health physio post birth?
What do they do?
That is a very good question and I will advise you to read my Pelvic health page to see what type of problems we can treat and help with, the list is long!
It is well researched and documented that post pregnancy and birth, women are much more likely to have pelvic floor dysfunction which could mean leaking wee, wind or poo for the first time without being able to control it or potentially having a pelvic organ prolapse where the vagina muscle walls have weakened and the bladder, uterus or bowel descends into them feeling like a “heaviness or bulge” down below.
For more information about these please have a read of my Pelvic Floor page and Prolapse page.
Also post baby, we may have weak tummy muscles which is perfectly normal as we have grown and stretched these muscles over 40+/- weeks and for the majority of us sadly, we don’t pop back into shape once the baby is born.
Women’s health physio’s can help assess and treat your abdominals, help with any lower back or upper back pain that the majority of us get from holding, feeding, carrying a little one around most of the day and night!
The other really important thing post natal people need is guidance about returning to exercise. When, how, what and where? There are some excellent return to running guidelines that were published in 2018 by Goom et al which you can access here.
Even if you don’t want to run, they give a clear framework about which exercise to start first and how to progress them. Strengthening up your muscles is key to returning to sport and after growing a baby they certainly need that bit of extra care and attention.
This page includes some videos I have filmed about posture, breath work and core in the early days post natal, is your pelvic floor run ready after birth and modifications of functional exercises that you can see how to progress or regress if you need to.
Always listen to your body.
Seek help and guidance if anything doesn’t feel right or is painful. It can be common, but it’s not normal.
Diastasis – tummy muscle separation is normal post birth
Are you wondering if you have a tummy muscle separation gap following your pregnancy and birth? Check out this video to see ‘How to find out’.
Please note it is 100% normal for all pregnant people to have lengthening of their abdominal muscles and so a gap is normally felt. This is not disastrous and can get better with loading your abdominal canister progressively.
If your gap is deep or wider than your 4 fingers please do seek a referral to a women’s health physiotherapist for assessment and treatment guidance. We can help you recover and return to your goals.
Work your glutes (bum muscles)!
After pregnancy and birth, as a sweeping generalisation we could all do with a bit more GLUTEAL STRENGTH.
Here’s some exercises for you to try out…
Please make sure you listen to your body and watch your posture/aligment when performing these exercises. It’s imperative you can breath throughout and don’t hold your breath.
If you are struggling please seek a pelvic health physiotherapist or pelvic health fitness professional for help and guidance.
RELATED BLOG POSTS TO POST BABY…
Are you ready to return to running?
Are you ready to return to running? Earlier this year, three physiotherapists collaborated together to make the first ever "returning to running post natal guidelines for medical, health and fitness professionals managing this population". Tom Goom, Emma Brockwell and...
Returning to sport and exercise post baby: common questions
Returning to sport and exercise post baby: common questions. When your body has transformed to grow a baby we are often left with many questions afterwards about returning to sport and exercise. Here are some common questions: What is safe exercise post baby? When I...
What to expect when you see a pelvic health physiotherapist
What should you expect when you go and see a pelvic health physiotherapist for the first time? This is a great question and one that many are not familiar with, including physiotherapists who do not specialise in this domain. A physiotherapist is widely known (often...
Please visit my mental wealth page for information and advise about thoughts and feelings post birth if you are struggling
Find a physio and pelvic health fit pro in your area here.
Squeezyapp – NHS endorsed app to help you complete your pelvic floor exercises. £2.99 on the app store and well worth the investment!
MUTU programme – NHS endorsed post-natal exercise programme
EVB sportswear – engineered sportswear to help you return to your exercise with the support you need for your undercarriage
Instragram accounts to follow:
@physiomumuk, @absolute.physio, @helenkeeblephsyio, @mid_ulster_pilates_physio, @the_mummy_mot, @knowyourfloors, @munirahudanipt, @mypelvicfloormuscles, @pelvicguru1, @physiodetective, @thephysiogirl.ie, @physiomummyed
@mamastefit, @thegirlsgonestrong, @pregnant.postpartum.athletecism, @ladybirdpt, @adoreyourpelvicfloor, @holisticcorerestore, @_luluadams
Mental Weath Support
@pands_uk, @birthrightsorg, @mindcharity, @birthbetter, @birth_trauma_association_uk
@masicfoundation for supporting women with childbirth injuries, @peanut
POGP Free Leaflets
Pelvic Girdle Pain: Guidance for mothers and mothers-to-be
Exercise and Advise after Pregnancy
Pelvic Organ Prolapse: A guide for women
The Pelvic Floor muscles : A guide for women
Fit for Future: essential advice and exercises following childbirth
Aquanatal guidelines: Guidance on antenatal and postnatal exercises in water