Hi Everyone! My name is Nadia, and I have been working in the field of physiotherapy for 4.5 years. I began my journey into pelvic health and Women’s health physiotherapy 2.5 years ago and have continued to grow and cultivate my skills in this specialized area. I work locally at a clinic called Encompass Health and Wellness and I am loving every minute of it!
The population I see the most is women who are pregnant or going through the postpartum stage. I usually treat patients during their pregnancy and then through the postpartum stage after delivery. I love working with this population because it is astounding to see the transition through all the phases of pregnancy, right to labour and delivery and then beyond during the post-partum period. The journey itself can be difficult, but to accomplish and overcome the things these women do is quite remarkable.
As a pelvic health physiotherapist your responsibility is to help these women with whatever goals they may want to achieve. The key is to work together so that the pregnancy, labour and delivery as well as the post-partum stage are safe, healthy and empowering. I meet many women who may be eager to jump into exercise just six weeks after delivering their baby. The misconception with this ideology is that it is assumed every woman heals the same, feels the same way after labour and delivery and have the same post-partum goals. This school of thought can cause an immense amount of emotional pressure and anxiety surrounding healing time and what is deemed normal for a woman going through her post-partum journey.
Much of the healing process is reliant on a number of factors. A pelvic floor physiotherapist has to look at the individual as a whole and what they are presented with at the time of the assessment. One should always consider birthing circumstances, previous level of fitness, support at home and by other health care professionals, and emotional wellbeing. All of these facets play an integral role in the recovery of the patient. It is important to address them (while working within your scope of practice) and apply strategies that will help this patient throughout their post-partum recovery.
Patient’s require a foundation of emotional and physical health prior to jumping into exercise. Some general guidelines for return to exercise and activity include light/low impact activity or exercise within the first 3 months. This may include walking, or general body weight exercises. The correct amount of loading onto bone, muscle and joint is important during this time and with the guidance of a pelvic floor physiotherapist can be achieved.
Unfortunately, society puts a tremendous amount of pressure on new moms to get their ‘pre-pregnancy’ body back in a quick turnaround time. Often, women will push themselves too hard before they are ready and cause lingering issues post-pregnancy. My main advice to these women is that you must listen to your body, do not push through pain and things will happen when your body and mind are in alignment! Pregnancy and the post-partum period should be an empowering experience and one that aligns with your own personal goals. Be sure to equip yourself with a dedicated health care team that will help you every step of the way!
Bsc. Kin, MScPT
Registered Physiotherapist, Pelvic Health Physiotherapist