What is the Women’s Health Physio Post-Natal Check?
This check is aimed at any woman who has had a baby and especially those who would like to exercise, but not only women who want to exercise. This check can happen any time from 6-12 weeks post-natal to 5-10+ years post-natal. What we know is that the NHS 10 year plan is to eventually accommodate a post-natal check for every woman who gives birth in the UK by a Women’s Health Physiotherapist. Unfortunately, at the moment in the UK there are just not enough NHS Women’s Health Physios to see every woman. Which is where private sector Women’s Health Physiotherapists are well placed to help offload the burden of the NHS and see women who are able to access private physiotherapy. The current evidence supports every woman having a pelvic floor assessment after giving birth prior to commencing running or impact sports. For some women, this can be as much as going back to their pilates classes while for other women this could be CrossFit or triathlons. Every woman, regardless of their background in exercise, deserves to have a post-natal health check.
At Oxford Circus Physio Lisa, our in-house Women’s Health Physiotherapist, will be completing your post-natal check. These appointments are typically 60 minutes and involve a complete medical history including pregnancy and birth history. Some women may be feeling really good after giving birth and come in for their check before 12 week’s post-natal and in that case the physio will run through a series of questions with you to make sure everything is going alright before proceeding to the physical examination. If you are beyond 12 week’s post-natal then, with your consent, the physiotherapist will proceed to the abdominal assessment. Here your abdominal wall will be checked along with any c-section scarring. Real time ultrasound may be used to check the function of the abdominals as well as the contraction of the pelvic floor. The next part of the assessment is an internal digital assessment where the physiotherapist palpates the pelvic floor. The internal assessment is always optional and only performed with your consent. Please let your therapist know if you would like to discuss this further. From this position the therapist will typically get you to trial a couple of different pelvic floor contractions to assess the quality of the pelvic floor contraction, the fatigability of the muscle and if this causes any pain. Functional assessments that may also be included in your assessment include posture analysis, lifting technique, and general movement strategies. Finally, as long as everything has been alright up until this point, the physiotherapist will run you through some load and strength testing to determine if any of these activities are provocative or if you need to start any strengthening exercises to compliment your post-natal recovery.
From the assessment the Women’s health physio will be able to tailor a rehab program specifically for your needs, if it is determined that there is anything you may need to work on. This many include pelvic floor relaxation techniques/strengthening exercises, postural strengthening exercises, core exercises, gluteal strengthening, stretching, etc depending on what your unique goals are.