Pregnancy and delivery (vaginal or caesarean section) are major events and bring about much change to your body and your life.
These changes impact mothers in different ways and to different degrees. For optimal postpartum recovery, it is critical to understand how the process has affected you. This enables you to rehabilitate your body properly, especially your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles.
This is particularly pertinent before returning to more demanding exercise. To assist with this process Norfolk Women's Health Physiotherapy offers a Physiotherapy Post-Natal Assessment. In this assessment we will identify any key issues that need to be addressed to make a full recovery from your pregnancy/birth.
YOUR PHYSIOTHERAPY POST-NATAL ASSESSMENT WILL INCLUDE:
- Pelvic Floor Muscle (PFM) assessment
- Your pelvic floor muscles play a major role in continence, pelvic stability and sexual function and these vital muscles are impacted through pregnancy and delivery. We assess the strength and endurance of your PFM. This is important after both vaginal and caesarean deliveries.
- Prolapse assessment
- A prolapse occurs when the organs inside your pelvis fall, bulge or protrude into the vaginal space. Many women experience prolapse as a result of a vaginal delivery. We assess if there has been any change to your pelvic organs following delivery, and identify if you are at risk of a prolapse occurring in the future.
- Pelvis assessment
- The structure of the pelvis itself is also impacted by pregnancy & child birth. The pelvic joints soften in preparation for birth and this can create a feeling of instability often contributing to back and pelvic pain. These joints can also be injured during delivery. We assess the external pelvis, including sacroiliac joint (SIJ) and pubic symphysis.
- Diastasis of the Rectus Abdominus (DRAM) assessment
- The abdominal muscles are significantly stretched in pregnancy to accommodate your growing baby. In some patients, the fascia between the abdominal muscle splits, causing a gap or ‘’diastasis’’. We measure the depth and width of any separation you may have developed in your pregnancy.
From this assessment we will prescribe appropriate management strategies, which may include:
- Prescription of a specific/individualised PFM program
- To correct, prevent and/or manage incontinence, bladder urgency and prolapse
- To improve sexual function
- Bladder or bowel management and advice
- Appropriate post-natal exercises, including abdominal rehabilitation
- To speed up your recovery and help you get your pre pregnancy body back
- To better support your back and pelvis and reduce chances of developing back pain
- Advice on return to exercise including correct timing and appropriate choices for you
- Treatment management plan if appropriate if there are any musculoskeletal issues found
- To manage any significant Diastasis of the Rectus Abdominus Muscle (DRAM)
Physiotherapy Post-Natal Assessment is highly recommended at 8-12 weeks post-delivery but can still be relevant for up to 12 months.
NB: The conditions mentioned above are all perfectly normal and appropriate exercise and treatment returns most women to their pre pregnancy state.