Many of you may not know this type of physio exists or perhaps even questioning if you really need to see you one. Especially if you had a great pregnancy, birth & recovery!
There is great value in seeing one if you have a new born in your arms or even a toddler! It’s not too late to ensure you are on the right track.
What do they really do?
They are specialists in women’s health recovery and pay particular attention to your pelvic floor & abdominals. These two areas generally get the most amount of ‘hard work’ from pregnancy and birth.
But if you also suffered issues with your hips, writs or any other pains from pregnancy & motherhood, they are your go-to physios to help tune you up again
But what if I had my baby AGES ago… its probably too late now right?
No, not at all. We are ‘postnatal’ forever. And issues can pop up at different times in our life. Sometimes the symptoms are silent… then they flare up down the track. Thinking jumping on the trampoline, starting to run, back pain and incontinence!
Uncheck pelvic floor, worst case, can then increase to a prolapse. This is the muscles bulging and even more severe cases, muscles hanging down or coming down externally.
Or maybe your unhealed core is causing your back pain! Go find out for sure.
What does a typical appointment include?
They will go through some really basic questions with you – ask you what is going on with your body. The good ones are really thorough
They will also get hands on just to see how your body is working
They may also use some different devices to help better assess your body and see if you are activating all the muscles correctly.
You may see an ultra sound machine to check if you are engaging the correct muscles
They may use a tool that goes into your vagina to measure your pelvic floor muscles
They may do an internal exam
Now, I have only come across female women’s health physios, and the majority of them are also Mum’s, so there is no need to be shy. They are very quick and hey, you had a baby!
They will send you home with exercises to do but they have hundreds of great practical tips that just require the smallest adjustments at home to support your recovery (generally these become life long new habits)
But isn’t this going to cost hundreds of dollars??
No, not necessarily. Depending on how where your body is at with recovery it can often be resolved in minimal appointments. They may give you an initial appointment, then ‘homework’ to do, and a follow up appointment 2-6 weeks later. Often that is the extent of it, but more intensive cases will require more follow up appointments.
BUT if you are doing the ‘homework’, the quickly your recovery will be and the less appointments you need.
If you are within the first 6 weeks postnatal and still under the hospitals care, often your appointments may be covered by the hospital! So speak to your MW or OB and see if they will refer you.
You don’t need a GP referral to see a Women’s Health Physio.
But go see your GP if you do have persistent issues. If you are referred by your GP, you may be eligible for up to 5 physio appointments covered by medicare rebate – bonus!
But I don’t have any symptoms!
Most of the time, abdominal separation goes unchecked. Many women put up with leaking and just wear a panty liner. But some symptoms are silent and early identification will mean there is less chance of these symptoms flaring up down the track if you work on them now.
What are the symptoms?
Abdominal separation you can sometimes see. If you did a crunch you may have notice and peak down the midline of your tummy. Sometimes referred to as ‘toblerone tummy’.. like the chocolate bar is what is looks like.
But general weak core, the persistence of ‘mummy tummy’, weakened pelvic floor and even back pain are common indicators.
With pelvic floor the common ones include leaking from front or back passage when you laugh, jump, cough, sneeze. Frequently visiting the bathroom, difficulty emptying your bladder or bowels (hello iron supplements), pain in pelvic area or during sex.
My recommendation is that all women go and see a Women’s Health physio after childbirth. I know how hard booking appointments in with sleeping or multiple children, but they are all mums and you can always take the kids with you
If you are a Cairns Mum, these are my top 3 physios I recommend checking out;
Marilla at Proactive
Megan at Phyx me
Amanda at Control Physio
There is no one right approach to postnatal recovery. Its requires different a multi layered approach including fitness, phyio’s, nutrition & wellbeing. Our bodies can get so drained from motherhood it so worth giving yourself the best chance possible to thrive.
So before you check out, give yourself 1min to do a short set of pelvic floor pulses
Pre/Postnatal Fitness Expert
Founder of Nurtured Fitness