Post natal rehab: too much too soon?

Anyone who knows me knows that an evening dedicated to post natal rehab and prosecco is right up my street! And it was a pleasure to spend last night in the company of the amazing team from Harborne Physio, Rachel Nolan and the NCT Birmingham West team and a collection of other fabulous professionals in the field of women’s health.

As well as being a night away from the bed time routine for 2 small people 😉 it was a brilliant opportunity to network with like-minded individuals that provide local women with the support that they deserve and need after giving birth. Never underestimate the importance of a good women’s health physio in terms of post natal rehab! And we were privileged enough to have several of the very best in the room with us.

Sundeep Watkins presented on the Mummy MOT* which is gaining in popularity (that’s a complete understatement!) as many women feel underwhelmed, unclear and unsupported after their “6-week check.” She quoted a statistic suggesting that 45% of women have urinary incontinence 7 years after having their child(ren)** but what made me most sad about this was that only 31% of them had this issue in the early post natal period. Too often I see evidence of women accepting leaking as normal, not really seeing the need for post natal rehab, doing too much too soon and engaging in exercise that is inappropriate for their bodies at that moment in time. There’s a very good reason why my classes are low impact and breathing and pelvic floor engagement is built into all of the exercises!

Lisa Hastie continued the theme of post natal rehab covering issues that are common, but not normal like:

  • pelvic organ prolapse (a slipping of your bladder, uterus or bowel into your vagina). Note that you don’t have to have given birth vaginally for this to happen. Many factors play a role like having a weak pelvic floor before pregnancy, pregnancy itself, obesity, having a large baby, prolonged pushing, constipation and, yet again, doing too much too soon;
  • anal sphincter injuries (often resulting from third or fourth degree tears whilst giving birth and the most common cause of faecal incontinence in women);
  • bladder retraining;
  • painful sex and overactive pelvic floor muscles (yes, they can have too much tension in them, so it’s crucial that you know what your pelvic floor is doing!).

It saddens me that many women don’t feel like they can speak up and so suffer in silence with these things. Particularly when conservative approaches like physiotherapy can have life-changing effects.

I left feeling good about the world knowing that there are even more women’s health warriors in the local area and I remain as passionate as ever in playing my role in post natal rehab.

“Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives.”

Please get in touch if you’d like to join my group exercise classes or to book 1-2-1 personal training sessions. The contact details for the Harborne Physio team can be found in the link above and I recommend them both personally and professionally.


* a detailed physiotherapy assessment of your abdominal and pelvic area, which looks at your posture, breathing, tummy gap and pelvic floor strength)

** Wilson et al. 2002

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