Something I am passionate about sharing is finding the best healthcare and information for women during the evolution of becoming a mother. I myself have always loved learning about my body through my own experiences and having babies was one of those times so it was a no brainer for me to attend women’s health physio (WHP) sessions after having Flinders. I learnt so much in that first session that was helpful that I went back for more and after getting my body to the strongest state I have ever had it after Flinders it definitely made for a better journey the 2nd time round after having Marley. However as I have shared my journey I often get asked questions about WHP’s and when is the best time to see them. So I sat down with Claire from Mummy & Co and got the information straight from the horses mouth and wow, I got so much amazing information to share with you all!
While I recommend that EVERY woman that has given birth sees a WHP at their 6 week stage of recovery I also think seeing them during pregnancy is amazing to build a relationship with them and get ready for this epic journey of transformation. Unlike other women’s health professionals a WHP will do an internal exam and focus on YOUR body function and take you through step by step what YOUR body is doing. This is what they specialise in, this is their jam!! So I highly recommend going and seeing one in the lead up to birth and at 6 weeks postpartum so you can get personalised attention for your journey. See what Claire has to say below!
When should women see a WHP?
– If you are unsure what exercise you should be doing
– If you have any concerns regarding vaginal heaviness, pain with intercourse, leaking of urine or want some more information about your pelvic floor
– If you are concerned about abdominal separation or want your abdominals assessed
– If you have any questions or concerns about your upcoming birth or the early postbirth period
– If you have any aches or pains of the neck, upper back, lower back, wrists or hips.
– We recommend everyone to be assessed at six weeks post birth regardless if you’ve had a check with your obstetrician or GP. Chances are they didn’t get your abdominal separation or a pelvic floor muscle examination by your obstetrician or GP.
– If you are experiencing any bladder or bowel symptoms such as differences with your urge or desire to go to the toilet, constipation or difficulty passing urine or a stool, leaking of urine, double voiding or a change in your stream.
– If you were told at the hospital that you have an abdominal separation
– If you have any symptoms of heaviness, pressure or bulging in the vagina which may occur after exercise or towards the end of the day.
– If you’re unsure about what exercise is safe to do or if you’re wishing to be assessed prior to returning back to high impact exercise such as F45, crossfit or running.
– If you are experiencing a blocked duct or mastitis or symptoms associated with these.
What is your advice for women during pregnancy?
Get active or keep active. There are so many great health benefits for both yourself and your baby when you exercise during pregnancy! Unfortunately there is a lot of conflicting advice on the internet regarding what exercise is safe to complete during pregnancy making it overwhelming and confusing for women. There are many great ways to exercise during pregnancy, chat to your WHP if you are unsure what exercise is safe for you to complete and we can help you choose an exercise routine that suits your pregnancy and one that you enjoy doing!
What is your advice during postpartum recovery?
Every pregnancy and birth is different and therefore everyone’s recovery is so individualised! We see a range of people who recover quickly to those who take years to be feeling themselves again. You do need to give yourself realistic timeframes for feeling back to your pre- pregnancy self. Remember pregnancy was 9 months of different changes to your body, it’s going to take at least 9 months post birth to recover and for some people it’s even longer and that’s okay!
What are your top tips for the postpartum period?
1. Think about your standing posture – Standing tall when holding your baby rather than slouching, leaning back and pushing your belly out. If your baby likes to be rocked to sleep or to settle then use an exercise ball.
2. Create good movement habits. For example:
– Think about your posture when you’re feeding your baby and bathing your baby.
– Change up your positions when doing such tasks until you can complete them pain free for example the height of the bath or use of pillows when feeding. Use your legs and hips when bending and lifting. Squatting and lunging is a great way to bend to pick up your baby or to get your nappy bag from the floor.
3. Pelvic floor exercises – To get started post birth, think about contacting your pelvic floor like you’re trying to stop yourself from passing wind and hold for however old your baby is (2 weeks = 2 seconds etc). Do about 10 repetitions and repeat a couple of times a day when feeding. This is general advice until you see your women’s health physio from six weeks where we can assess you and provide you with a specific pelvic floor strengthening program.
4. Make sure you’re eating healthy. Make sure you’re drinking 3L of fluid if breast feeding and eating a well balanced diet. Healthy food rich of protein, fibre and leafy greens is important for your bowels and your milk supply if you’re breast feeding.
5. Join a mum’s group or a mum’s community. Whether it’s your first child, second, third or fourth, every baby is different and every mother’s experience in the first 6-12 months is completely different. Being around people whether its for a coffee date or an exercise class is important for your mental health. What a great time to meet new people and make lifelong friends!
And this is why I love these girls. They cover so many areas that people might not realise. I truly look forward to the day that seeing a WHP is part of the 6 week check up. This is a perfect opportunity to really get a good understanding of what your body is doing. No body or pregnancy is the same so it is so important to get this feedback. Know a good WHP? Share with me so I can recommend them.
In my online postnatal program I recommend that you follow the advice of your WHP to get the best results. Sign up to the online program here.