Our first priority as mothers after giving birth is usually caring for baby. We do this so much so, we neglect the changes our body has undergone in the past nine months. The pelvic floor requires time to recover and recoil due. This is due to the baby’s weight over nine months on the pelvic floor. Carrying a baby causes Stretching of the pelvic floor muscles if the mother chooses vaginal birth. Failure to retrain the pelvic floor can lead to urinary and bowel incontinence, organ prolapse, and pain with intercourse. This is where Post-partum / womens health physio comes in.
What will Post – partum / women’s health physio check?
One condition that is regularly checked by a Post-partum / womens health physio is separation of the stomach muscles. It is normal to have a separation of the abdominal muscles during pregnancy in order for the baby to grow. The fascia between the abdominal muscles also has to soften to allow expansion. Some common symptoms of stomach muscle seperation is doming of the stomach when you try to lift your head off the bed. Another is weakness of the core muscles and a feeling of sinking and softness in between the abdominal muscles.
It is important to address this with a women’s health physiotherapist within the first six months post-partum. The goal to ensure the muscles are regaining its tension to allow your abdominal muscles to function well as this may have future implications on low back pain. If the abdominal muscles are not regaining its tension, specific exercises will help.
Post – partum / women’s health assesment.
Post-partum / womens health physio asses the pelvic floor in 2 main ways. These are : via ultrasound and via internal examination.
Internal examination is the gold standard test to gain information regarding the pelvic muscle strength, tone, endurance and looking at pelvic organ prolapse.
Real time ultrasound is useful for a visual feedback for the patient when trying to teach a pelvic floor contraction. However, it may not be useful in the cases of an overactive pelvic floor. The reason for this is you will not be able to see a great degree of lift.
Whats the goal?
Finally, a common goal for mothers after birth is weight loss and toning the body. Prior to doing any exercises, especially high impact exercises, it is important to ensure the pelvic floor and stomach muscles are fully assessed. Exercises postpartum should be graded, as the body is healing and will take time to return to the state had been in previously. Undergoing supervised exercise with a Post – partum / women’s health provides a safe environment in which progress can be monitored to establish a solid foundation for return to exercise.