Who should get a postnatal physiotherapy assessment? And when?
A postnatal assessment is recommended for all women following delivery. It can be carried out as early as six weeks after delivery to many, many years later. The time after giving birth can be hectic, and it is important to take the time to look after your own welfare and body as well as your baby’s.
After giving birth, a number of musculoskeletal imbalances can occur in a women’s body. These imbalances can cause pain and poor movement control which may lead to further physical problems in the future. They may not always be easily recognized in the beginning and so it is important to be assessed. A trained women’s health physiotherapist can assist in the diagnosis and treatment of post partum musculoskeletal and pelvic floor disorders.
Postnatal Physiotherapy assessment: What is Involved?
A one hour assessment with a specialist physiotherapist in which we carry out:
- A tummy assessment to check for a ‘gap’ or diastasis rectus.
- A pelvic floor examination (internal and external).
- An assessment of any other physical problems experienced since pregnancy.
- Prescription of a personalized post natal rehab program which incorporates the patient’s lifestyle and goals.
- Education and advice regarding return to exercise.
What to look for in a postnatal assessment?
- Posture: New aches and pains in the neck, back and pelvis are extremely common post-natally. From feeding to lifting and bouncing your new baby, the body is often forced into awkward positions. Assessment of musculoskeletal range and strength can help us help you understand your symptoms and give you exercises to reduce your discomfort.
- Pelvic floor assessment: Regardless of c-section or vaginal delivery, a post natal pelvic floor assessment is important post partum. Over 30% of women experience urinary incontinence in the months following delivery. An internal assessment of your pelvic floor contraction carried out by your specialized women’s health physiotherapist, will give you a greater understanding of how to best activate your pelvic floor. Furthermore, it can help us guide you on the best way to improve the strength of your pelvic floor.
- Tummy assessment: A gap or a separation between the abdominal wall muscles is known as a diastasis recti abdominus (DRA). It occurs during pregnancy, when the abdominal muscles are stretched to accommodate your growing bump. A large DRA has been related to core instability and pelvic floor dysfunction. During your post natal assessment, we will assess your diastasis and advise you on how best to manage it. We can also assess your c-section scar and provide scar tissue release as required.
- Breathing: Your bump during pregnancy impacts the diaphragmatic movement. Our diaphragm has an impact on the pelvic floor strength and control, and can affect your ability to return to exercise. Therefore, we assess your breathing pattern to optimally co-operate with your pelvic floor.
- Wrist pain: De quervain’s syndrome (mothers thumb). Tendons of the wrist rubbing off surrounding structures causing inflammation, onset due to repetitive nature of motherhood in lifting and adjusting. Your women’s health physiotherapist can provide treatment to reduce the discomfort and exercises to increase the strength of the wrist to prevent worsening of the pain.
- Breast feeding dysfunction: Mastitis is a condition where the milk ducts in the breast can become swollen and painful. It commonly affects women who are breast feeding. Treatment for this consists of a course of gentle massage and ultrasound therapy to help reduce the inflammation, and allow for a smoother breast feeding experience.
The Moving Body offers postnatal assessments by a trained physiotherapist.
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