The Importance of A Postnatal Physiotherapy Check Up Before Return to Exercise

postnatal physiotherapy check up

If you have just had a baby, you might have been advised to see your GP or obstetrician for a 6-week postnatal check up. You may also be advised to have a postnatal physiotherapy check up.

What does this postnatal check involve? 

You can check what happens in the post natal check up here. As you can see, there is quite a lot to get done!

Your GP will assess your mental health. They will take a quick look at any wounds on your perineum or abdomen to pick up any signs of poor healing or infection. They will screen for a urinary tract infection, endometritis (inflammation of the uterus), or mastitis (inflammation of the breast) if you are breastfeeding. They will help or refer for any breastfeeding issues, address any hormonal problems such as thyroid conditions, manage any prolonged bleeding or anaemia, and discuss and prescribe contraception.

There is often simply not enough time at this visit to properly address pelvic floor dysfunction such as a weak bladder, incontinence, bowel problems, prolapse, or even abdominal separation. This is especially the case if you don’t speak up because the symptoms are too embarrassing, or if you have an expectation that leaking or a mummy tummy after delivery is ‘normal’. 

The Importance of a Postnatal Physiotherapy Check Up

Perineal, abdominal, or vaginal pain might even be considered ‘normal’ at 6 weeks (it never is!), but it can persist beyond this time and by then you are on your own. Or you might not even realise there is a problem until you resume sexual activity or take up exercise again. Conditions such as haemorrhoids and constipation can become worse as time goes on. Pain in the low back or the pelvis, upper back, or thumb/wrist can start or worsen once you have been lifting and carrying your baby for a few months, or as that baby becomes a toddler.

We believe that every woman should have a comprehensive pelvic floor and abdominal wall check 6 weeks after delivery, with a pelvic and women’s health physiotherapist. Our postnatal physiotherapy service can do just that to make sure you are where you need to be. 

Returning to Exercise Post Pregnancy

This is even more important if you are planning to return to exercise. Why? Because the loading that occurs during exercise can create forces that bear down into the vagina or out through the abdominal wall. If the connective tissue is stretched or the muscles are weak, that tissue might even get stretched beyond the point of no return. 

A pelvic and women’s health physiotherapist can tell you if you are ready to return to exercise, and if you do, whether there are any modifications you should make.

We will work closely with any personal trainer who takes pelvic health seriously. Your trainer should screen for pelvic floor conditions and abdominal dysfunction and refer to us if they assess you are at risk of developing a pelvic health problem. Together we will determine what modifications are appropriate.

You should only work with a trainer with whom you feel comfortable enough to mention any pelvic health issues if and when they arise. If you want to know if your trainer is following best practice for postnatal exercise, you can read these Pre and Post Natal Exercise Guidelines.  

We trust Kylie Harper from Cruz Fitness and Tamara Stanley from My Path Forward in Glenmore Park who are both members of Mumsafe.

We have also worked with Kat Withell from G3 in St Marys.

If yoga is more your style, speak to Annika Saigi from Nin yoga

If you are a personal trainer or exercise physiologist with an interest in postpartum exercise or exercise for women generally, and you screen for pelvic floor dysfunction, get in touch with us. We’d love to connect with you! Follow us on Instagram #penrithpelvicfloorphysio

Get Your Postnatal Physiotherapy Check Up Today

If you’re planning to engage in exercises post pregnancy, a post natal physio check up can help you assess your pelvic floor condition and determine any issues before moving forward. We have post natal physiotherapists who can help make sure you’re ready to return to doing strenuous activities and provide the right program for you. Contact us today to get started!

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