POST NATAL MOT
Could this be you?
Recently had a baby?
Eager to get back into shape?
Weak core muscles?
Joint/ muscle instability?
Chronic pelvic pain?
Worried about your pelvic floor?
Having any leakage issues with your bladder or bowel?
Do you have a gap in your tummy muscles?
Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
Around one woman in seven experiences bladder and/or bowel leakage post childbirth. By the time many women with continence problems are treated by a Physiotherapist there may already be long term damage. Evidence shows that early identification and intervention can minimise long-term damage to the pelvic floor muscles and reduce continence, prolapse and bladder and bowel problems later in life.
Did you know that 50% of women do not know how to perform a correct pelvic floor contraction? Even if people are being told about pelvic floor exercises they often do not get the information at the right time or realise that they have to carry on doing them. One in three women have women’s health problems during their lifetime. A pelvic floor muscle “MOT’ from six weeks after birth can help cut the risk.
Changes during pregnancy:
Your body goes through huge changes during the pregnancy process. Many postural changes occur to accommodate your growing baby; the upper back can become very stiff, the lower back becoming either more or less curved. Ligament laxity occurs to allow your baby to pass through the birth canal and these can remain lax for up to 6 months post-natally and longer if you are breast feeding. During pregnancy the pelvic floor works very hard to support your growing baby and has to stretch to allow delivery, this can often be with some tearing. The abdominal muscles also have to stretch during pregnancy and can often become separated this is called a diastasis recti.
Whether you had a natural uncomplicated delivery, a Caesarean or a traumatic childbirth, understanding how childbirth can affect your body is of benefit from day one to get you back to full fitness as quickly as possible. The delivery process can cause various issues to the body, not just to your pelvic floor muscles. The ligaments of the pelvis and the sacro-iliac joints are put under stress as are the muscles of the hips, pelvis and abdomen.
The position you are in whilst resting during the birth can cause problems, as can being in the lithotomy (stirrups) position, sometimes used for repairs to the perineum. These positions can put a strain on to the pelvis which if uncorrected could lead to problems later on with both the pelvis and the lower back.
Other problems that mothers suffer include general aches and pains from muscles used in childbirth. These will usually settle down after a few days unless a strain has occurred. Common sites of problems are firstly the diaphragm and the muscles between the ribs (intercostal muscles), the abdominal muscles, which have had to lengthen during the pregnancy, are often tender. These will recover but as they provide support to the spine it means that new mothers need to be very careful when lifting and carrying a baby around. The muscles between the shoulder blades can be sore, again in part due to the extra lifting/putting down of the baby but also as a result of poor feeding positions.
Post-natally it takes time for your body to recover. With lack of postural support due to the pregnancy and now a baby to look after 24 hours per day; this takes its toll on the body. As a Women’s Health Physiotherapist I see women years later, struggling with pelvis and lower back pain, bladder and bowel problems and prolapse issues. It is far easier to recover from a problem if it is assessed and treated at the outset. A post-natal check up is important and can help you on the road to recovery and prevent future complications. The pelvic floor gradually regains its strength after birth. This process is greatly aided by practicing pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy and making sure that they are done soon after the birth, but most importantly, that they are done correctly.
What does the Postnatal MOT Check involve?
• 1-hour assessment with a Specialist Women’s Health Physiotherapist
• Ideally at 6 weeks or after
• Assess pelvic floor strength and function, including exercise technique
• Real-time ultrasound scanning of the pelvic floor so that you can see yourself how you are doing
• Abdominal Muscles both their strength and whether they are coming back together correctly
• Assess the pelvis alignment
• Assess posture
• Assess any physical problems arising from pregnancy and birth
We will do a full assessment of your Pelvic Floor Muscles including a real-time ultrasound scan so that both you and the Physiotherapist can see what your pelvic floor is – or isn’t ! - doing. At the end of the session you will know exactly what you need to be doing to strengthen your pelvic floor and how to do it. You will then be given a personal advice and exercise program to help get you back to your previous level of fitness. We will discuss with you what your goals are and help you get on track with the correct exercises and advice in order to achieve them.
Why would I benefit from an ‘M.O.T.’ postnatal check-up?
We encourage all women following pregnancy and delivery to have their tummy and pelvic floor muscle function assessed, no matter how long ago their delivery was. Responsible for core and pelvic strength, these muscles, if functioning properly, can prevent prolapse and help with improving your bowel, bladder and sexual function. They also play a key role in the prevention and management of back pain. Even if you are not having any difficulties now, with expert advice and tuition we can make sure that you are doing your exercises in the correct way to gain the maximum benefit and best possible outcome.
Please call the reception team to book your ‘M.O.T’ Assessment
Treatments are also available for:
* Pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy
* Bladder and bowel dysfunction
* Post-natal pelvic floor and abdominal muscle strengthening
* Chronic pelvic pain
It is very important to realise that it is not only your baby that needs looking after, your health is really important too.